Our kids are the future. Providing an education system full of options and opportunities ensure success for everyone in our state. Standing up for our schools in not a parent and teacher problem, it directly impacts every person statewide. Recent budget deficiencies translated into bad decisions and precedence. If I cannot appeal to the most basic emotion of supporting a child, I will illustrate the impact to their wallets. The old adage of "invest a nickel to save a dollar" must be clearly understood when we discuss this issue.
In 2009 our school teachers were furloughed for 3 days with additional cuts on the horizon for 2010. These are difficult times and we are all feeling the economic pinch. However, let's not dismiss lower tax revenues for making bad decisions. The state budget is bloated with useless programs and red tape that provide no return on investment for Georgians. Our infamous GDOT (GA Dept. of Transportation) has "Enron like accounting" and the worst return on investment per the Governor. With the billions wasted and unaccounted for, how can we justify furloughing teachers and not having basic supplies in the classroom?
Fulton County recently chose to reduce the number of school days to 177 next year. This preposterous decision further cements the need for a separate North Fulton (or Milton County) school system. We need to add more days to the school year, not less. We are blessed in North Fulton to have wonderful schools, teachers, administrators, parents and PTA's. It is easy to take for granted continued success, but it is not a given without best practices and priorities.
Let's consider the long-term impacts. We want to bring good businesses and jobs to Georgia. It will help our citizens and generate additional tax revenue. The top 3 reasons for relocating a business are Education, Taxes and Transportation in order of importance. Business leaders want great schools for their kids and talented resources to fill job openings. What type of signal are we sending?
As the eternal optimist, I know we can remedy this situation. It will take our combined efforts and teamwork. Our great silent majority needs to speak up. We can be fiscally prudent and conservative by cutting the fat in the state budget, not our future.
As your next state senator from North Fulton, I will sponsor legislation to assure we reverse this trend. I am a proud father of 2 kids in public schools. Neither of my opponents will have kids in public schools next year and this is an important comparison for serving our families. We participate and proudly support our PTA and school foundation. My wife Kari and I are so thankful for our great teachers and administrators.
We CANNOT let bureaucrats make classroom decisions
We CANNOT cut important school programs like music
We CANNOT treat education like any other government program
We MUST put teachers first
We MUST expedite the process for Charter Schools
We MUST have localized control and a separate North Fulton School System