Thursday, June 12, 2008

Running The Numbers On The Consortium

The impending decision of the Clarke County Board of Education to rejoin the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia (CASFG) prompted me to run some numbers, the result of which has only served to reinforce my opinion that the District should not rejoin the group.

The CASFG web site lists 47 member school systems (2 city and and 45 county school systems). When one looks up the respective millage rates charged by each system in 2007, an unmistakable pattern immediately emerges. My calculations yielded an average millage rate of 14.482 mills. So, the strategy for the vast majority of CASFG members is to undercharge their own citizens on property taxes and then sue to have the state’s taxpayers make up the supposed “inadequacy,” even though those taxpayers may be paying a substantially higher millage rate to support their own education systems.

The Towns County school system has the lowest millage rate (at 3.633 mills it is the lowest by a wide margin – and yes, I called the Towns County Tax Commissioner’s office to make sure that wasn’t a typo) and the Wayne County school system has the highest millage rate (20.000 mills, which made it the only system to have a rate of more than 17.90 mills). Even so, the former’s per pupil expenditure for FY 2007 was $8454.16, while that of the latter was $7699.65. Compare either with the state average of $8428.05 per pupil and the $10,746.94 per pupil spent by the Clarke County School District for the same period

So what does all of this mean? It means that the CSSD is poised to spend even more tax dollars on supporting a group that whines incessantly about the extent to which the state funds education, even while its members conspicuously do not avail themselves of the fullest opportunity to pay for their students’ education.

Of course, here in Clarke County we are already paying top dollar for dismal results – and the only proposed solution we ever get is to spend even more.

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