Leave it to the Dougherty County Board of Education. Their decision to essentially not fire anyone involved in the CRCT scandal as far as I can tell only illustrates the point that they don’t give a damn about Albany or Dougherty County.
Albany has been shrinking for years. Meanwhile, Lee County has been growing. Why is that? Everyone knows the reason, because we’ve all known people who have moved there. A lot of us have considered it, and these reasons have been part of our discussions as well.
One is lower property taxes. Honestly, this one may well be a wash. You see, property taxes are lower, but property values are higher due to increased demand. The same house could actually cost you the same in property taxes. I haven’t sat down and done a comparison, but the difference is enough to make me question the financial factors.
There is one factor that can’t really be questioned, and that’s the superiority of Lee County schools. They are head and shoulders above those in Dougherty County. Every metric one can look at illustrates that point.
Part of it may be socioeconomic in nature, but part of it is that Lee County is a school system that gives a flip about educating its children, rather than trying to make a statement with personnel decisions.
Time and time again, we have seen people who appear to many of us to be incompetent have their contract renewed. Most recently, we have Nikki Lyons, a first year teacher that the CRCT tribunal recommended not have her contract renewed. The decision by the school board? Apparently, they decided that the tribunal didn’t know what they were talking about and renewed her contract with a retroactive suspension.
Now, I know practically nothing about Lyons. The fact that it was a unanimous decision is unusual, and probably warrants some deeper investigation. However, we have seen this board rehire so many that Lyons is simply the most recent questionable rehire, and one that is probably unfairly lumped into the same category as all the others.
However, until the school board starts to take personnel decisions seriously, Albany and Dougherty County will continue to suffer as more and more of our tax base relocates to better educational systems in the area. So far, I don’t think there are many people on the board of education that actually get that. Until they do, the rest of the county will suffer.