Staton's School Board Bill: Would Strip Bibb B.O.E. of Taxing Ability
Georgia State Senator Cecil Staton is authoring a bill that would strip the Bibb County Board of Education of its budgetary powers, including property taxes.
"I have no great pleasure in what I am about to discuss with you."
State Senator Cecil Staton authors a bill that would strip the Bibb County Board of Education of their budgetary powers, including property taxes. Staton unveiled his bill this Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta.
Representative Allen Peake backs Staton's plan. Both men feel the school system's spending is out of control.
"The most frequent conversation I have with my constituents has to do with the school district in Bibb County," said Staton.
Senator Staton has made his aim clear. He's calling on the board of education to quote, "stop the shenanigans. Enough of the shenanigans, enough of the disfunction, enough of spending more than we take in," he adds.
Fellow legislators say the bill is just a another divide for Macon and Bibb County.
"I think if they just brought us into a conversation, we could construct something so that whole community can become stakeholder as opposed to keep dividing us along lines," said democrat Representative James Beverly. "Voters had a right to decide what they wanted. And in less than a year you have the republicans coming back and saying it doesn't matter what the voters voted for, we have the power to do it. Legally you can do it, but the spirit of the law is wrong,” he adds.
"Any measure that you're talking about doing that is a racist bill," said State Senator David Lucas. "That is a certain segment of the community, which is white, does not like Dr. Dallemand and some of the programs that he has put in. They are after anything they can do to take away whatever authority of the Board of education and the superintendent," he believes.
Staton also references, how past board members has displayed poor decision making skills. "That we have too much disfunction on our school board,” Staton adds. “We do know that we have too much money being spent on administration
Newly elected school board members say, they haven’t even had a chance.
"What's the purpose of bringing all these new board members to get things back on the fast track if you are going to turn around and tie our hands at the same time," said Lester Miller, current school board member. "The long term effect of this bill is that is going to have some hidden consequences and those consequences are going to be that teachers are furloughed. I am concerned about the constitutionality of them being able to do this."
We also spoke with Dr. Wanda West, who currently serves on the board. She says "It's not about politicians. It's about the welfare and growth of leadership and the community. It's time to come together to grow a healthy and inclusive school district to support the children."
At the news conference, Staton said more than once the he doesn't want to have to enact the bill, but with the conditions of the board, there's no other choice. "If it takes this bill to send a message to the school board to Macon and Bibb County, then I am willing to do it," he said.
School board members shouldn't worry, Staton says he'll stop the bill if Bibb Board of Education members quote "get their act together."