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Board of Education Approves Tax Hike

Despite pleas from the public Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Education approved a millage increase of nearly 2 mils. The bond rate will increase to 2.418 mills and the maintenance and operations rate will jump to 16.3 mils.

Forsyth County School Board members listened intently Thursday as one speaker after another called on the board not to raise taxes during one of the worst recessions in decades.

Six of the seven speakers who addressed the school board urged board members to look for deeper cuts in the budget. Only former teacher Dennis Whittle said he supported a tax increase.

After the public forum portion of the meeting ended, Vice Chairwoman Darla Light said, "I feel like we've made cuts everywhere we can without sacrificing the kids education and I'm not willing to do that."

The board then voted to raise the bond millage rate by 1 mil to 2.418 mils and the maintenance and operations (M&O) rate to 16.3 from 15.395 where it has been the last three years.

The vote to raise the bond rate was unanimous. Only board member Kristin Morrissey argued for a smaller increase in the M&O rate.

Light conducted the first half of the meeting as Chairman Tom Cleveland was 45 minutes late in arriving. But at least one speaker, Brad Wilkins, Vice Chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party, was not allowed to address the board when he arrived one minute past the deadline for signing up to speak.

"I'm disappointed that I didn't get to speak," Wilkins said after the meeting. "I had some ideas to share with the board that I think were good ideas. I didn't agree with this tax increase and I still don't. I was delayed in leaving the Board of Commissioners meeting because of the rain and was no more than a minute late. I should have been allowed to speak."

Among those who did speak out against the increase were Forsyth County Tea Party Founder Steve Voshall and Forsyth County Democratic Party Chairwoman Sharon Gunter.

Gunter reminded the board of the ongoing recession and added that the end is nowhere in sight.

Marc July 23, 2011 at 11:54 AM
Made every cut available? I live next door to North Forsyth High. During the school year the stadium lights are on almost every night and when the time changes over in the fall they are on in the morning. What is that costing the tax payer? We spend millions of dollars on school buses yet we allow students to park their cars at school for basically free. How about $200.00 a year parking passes? At a time when people are desperately trying to hold on to their homes, these tax increases may end up getting less revenue when people start moving to less expensive places to live.
Bill July 23, 2011 at 05:10 PM
Thanks for your comment Marc. The school board members have spoken. The voters will speak next summer when three of them are up for re-election.
Marc July 23, 2011 at 06:13 PM
Change in politics and polices defiantly starts at the local level. Let us hope the voters are still around to make their voices heard and they look at their tax notices right before they enter the voting booths..
Grace July 24, 2011 at 12:12 PM
I agree with you Marc one hundred per cent. So many voters in this county are so ill informed and just vote like they are told to and don't realize the consequences to all of us.
Grace July 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM
I agree with you again on this issue...
Grace July 24, 2011 at 12:16 PM
You have that right. People are loosing their homes left and right and yet taxes, etc. seem to keep going up - it is not cheap to live in Forsyth County .
Bill July 24, 2011 at 07:20 PM
Grace, thanks for your comments and for being a CummingPatch reader. Please tell your friends about us and we will do our best to keep the community informed about the issues that impact their lives.
Grace July 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM
I enjoy reading the Cumming Patch more than reading the Forsyth Newspaper and I love the honesty of the articles
bruinsfan October 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM
The School Board complains that they've all the cuts they can? Try this: Decrease the amount of school buses that are only 20% filled during daily runs. Stop building addtions to schools to house children of illegal immigrants and special teachers hired to communicate with them. How about putting an end to the "Cadillac" teacher pension plans that states and counties can no longer fund. Private sector companies have long been "ditching" pension plans because they are unsustainable. Close down the school gyms that are used during the summer months for extraneous activities. Stop the everyday watering of athletic fields, in the summer especially. There are many creative things that can be done to save money. The School Board is just not willing to do it because they don't have the guts.
Real Honesty Works October 19, 2011 at 07:54 PM
The BOE deserves NOTHING!!! That's what northern residents east of GA 400 are getting and have gotten from them. After deceiving us into supporting their last SPLOST campaign they scrap our new high school. Seems all the money has gone south once again! They spare no expense on schools in the southern end of our county and wouldn't dare to scrap a long planned school in that area-those southern area students' educational interests seem to be of greater importance-but it appears they always have economic issues when it comes to providing the same quality and quanity to northern students. Economic conditions are difficult now - but this school was planned and promised long before the economy sank- and should have already been built. Bond money (taxpayer/voter passed bonds) has been used to build ever other school in this county when promised- guess that money runs short when it goes north. Now BOE passes increased milleage rate. Unbelieveable! Where's the shortage of money and "making every cut possible" when compensating the over-staffed and over-paid administrative personnel in their castle on Hwy 9?
Marc October 19, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Just keep all this in mind come time to vote. And letters to the board and the commisioners about any concerns can never hurt. It does seem the Hwy 141 part of our county is receiving great attention while those of us up here on and by 369 are forgotten. Lets not forget that when we pull the levers in the voting box.. And you cannot pull the lever if you do not show up to vote. Grab your neighbor and let our voices be heard in the special voting coming up for SPLOST! Vote NO.

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