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Close ‘em down

By   /   March 27, 2013  /   Comments

The school board is about to decide the fate of several area schools.  People who’s children attend these schools are fired up and trying to save these schools.  Unfortunately, this isn’t about convenience, it’s about economics.  If they want to save these schools, how about coming up with the money to run them?

What we’re seeing in Albany is the flip side of “not in my back yard”.  In that phenomenon, people oppose the placement of something the community needs simply because they don’t want to live near it.  Power plants, garbage dumps, and prisons have all felt the sting of the “not in my back yard” crowd in various communities throughout the nation.

This flip side argument deals with various services being convenient to the individuals.  We’ve seen this before.  Last year, when the library board decided to close several libraries, people got up in arms.  The truth was, the library board had a tough decision and some libraries simply had to close.  In fact, I don’t think that was a real topic for debate outside of the county commission who was trying to be all things to all people.

Unfortunately, we’re in that same boat right now.  Some schools simply need to be closed.  We can’t afford to keep them open.  It’s simply budgetary pressures, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away any time soon.

Yes, it’s unfortunate that students who currently walk to school will have to take the bus instead.  I really is.  However, the cost of a bus ride is minimal when compared to the expenses of keeping an entire school open.  Why should the taxpayers be forced to subsidize another’s convenience?  The simple answer is, we shouldn’t.  My son attends Merry Acres.  If that was the school on the chopping block, I wouldn’t like it, but I wouldn’t expect the Dougherty County Board of Education to keep it open just because I don’t want to have to drive further away.

Some have made some rather ridiculous suggestions, complaining about home schoolers in the zones of the targeted schools.  Apparently, these people want the school board to force these students into school (something they can’t do).  Folks, part of the reason there are so many home schooled kids in these districts is that their parents believe the school sucks.  I certainly empathize with the home school parents.  Our schools just aren’t up to snuff in the grand scheme of things.

However, home schooling is fully authorized by the state.  It’s not going to go away, and forcing kids into schools will just force those parents to move to Lee County – where many of these parents would move if they had to send their kids to public schools.  Forcing these kids into public schools, if it were remotely legal, would only lead to an even more depleted tax base and create more problems.

Maybe, instead, the Dougherty County School System should encourage more home schooling.  After all, Dougherty County residents would still have to pay their property taxes, even if their children don’t attend public schools.  That would reduce the burden on the school system without impacting revenue.

No, I don’t like the idea of paying taxes for something I’m not using.  I’m just war gaming a bit.

Regardless, these schools need to be shut down, whether we like it or not.

Tom Knighton is the Editor and Publisher of the Albany Journal.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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