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April 28, 2009

 

SCHOOL BOARD CUTS AGRICULTURE PROGRAM

Parents, students, and other interested parties were ignored last week at the School Board meeting when asked questions about their decision to cut the AG program at the High School.

 Here are some comments received by the TWG:

  • You have a BOE that is totally arrogant to the taxpaying citizens who elected them. I saw this at the only meeting I attended, and that was last night.
  •  I attended the meeting last night.  The only thing I can say is the citizens and taxpayers of this county need to organize and oust the current board.  
  • The BOE is obviously oblivious to the electorate they represent.  This is an arrogant and racially motivated Board.  
  • Instead of pandering to the Head Start folks, they need to concentrate on middle and high school.
  • These folks have been running the school board for over 10 years, and there is no notable increase in the graduation rate.  They still have over a 50% fail rate in English, Math & Science.  I say these levels are unacceptable. 
  • I am concerned that the Jasper County BOE is eliminating the Agricultural program at the high school.  Last night I attended the meeting and there were over 50 students in support of this program, along with the parents. There has been much controversy on this program.  The School Board will not return phone calls, or discuss this issue in an open public meeting. 

There was a peaceful demonstration at the meeting by the students with their signs, in support of the program.  Only three people were allowed to speak.  Only speakers approved by the Superintendent 5 days in advance are allowed to address the School Board.   

There are currently 109 students enrolled in this program, and all of them support it. The FFA program is active and the parental support is tremendous. They include agriculture technology, forestry and national resources, horticulture and agriculture sales and service. It teaches business management and leadership, and is supported by FFA.  Remember, Jasper County is 95% rural; even though some on the board have told concerned citizens that Jasper County is now in the “metropolitan area.”

 Click here to see what the AG program does and its history.

The School Board has not made a sufficient report to the satisfaction of the taxpayers and citizens of Jasper County as to why they have to eliminate this program.  Their only answer was, “We have budget cuts.” Citizens were told their questions would not be answered.  One board member, Joel Gaston, showed his disrespect for the citizens that were allowed to speak by chewing gum and looking around the room.  Many people noticed it and commented.  He could have at least acted interested.

In addition to asking about cutting a program that keeps young people involved, it is time our school board answered the following questions:
  • the % of students entering the 9th Grade, who graduate on time,
  • the dropout rate,
  • the % of those passing math, English and science in Jasper County High School,
  • the number of teenage pregnancies
  • the percentage of low income families for Jasper County, Georgia.

 Our Superintendent earns a salary of approximately $73.31 dollars per student.  The highest in the area.   It does not seem that we getting that much value for our tax dollars.
See: Jasper School Superintendent Highly Paid

You can also find out how much anyone that works for the Jasper County Schools earns:
http://www.open.georgia.gov/sta/advance.aud
mark: Local Boards of Education
select: Jasper County in box below
With “Advanced Search” you can put Name in the box and information will come up or put Title in the box, such as Principal, and all those with that title will come up. 

 Some of Jasper’s higher paid employees include:
Jay Brinson--Superintendent--$150,449
Howard Fore—Principal--$97.664
Cathy Gilmore—Vocational--$88,242
Kathy Thomason—Finance--$77,518
         *Figures do not include Local Supplements or benefits

Brinson’s benefits include a taxpayer provided vehicle in which personal use is specifically allowed, an annual annuity, and his ½ of his social security and medicare taxes paid for by the taxpayers.  He has never purchased a house in Jasper County and never paid property taxes here.  

Citizens continue to ask who supervises whom?  Brinson seems to dominate and control the School Board.  Has anyone ever seen or heard them question anything he does?  He tells them what he is going to do.

Brinson is now looking for a new job.  See link here: Crisp County School Superintendent Finalist announced

 The School Board has shown it is out of touch with citizens.  The only thing they seem concerned about is how much money they can suck out of Jasper County citizens.  It is time to get new school board members.  A good start would be to replace all members that don’t have children in the system. 


YOU can make that change.  Recruit people to run and then support them and get others to do the same.  It’s time the citizens had a voice and some representation.  The School Board needs to get off its high horse and listen to the people that are paying the bills.


TWG
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