Staton issues challenge on Bibb school board issue

Staff reportsFebruary 23, 2013 

The state senator who proposed that the Bibb County school board lose its tax levying authority is standing firm, despite objections by Bibb County commissioners.

In an e-mail Friday night, state Sen. Cecil Staton asked one question of elected officials who oppose his proposal: “What is your solution?”

On Wednesday, Staton called a news conference, saying he planned to file a bill that would give the new Macon-Bibb County Commission final say on the school board’s budget and tax levy. He cited “dysfunction” on the school board as one of the reasons for his proposal.

Friday morning, by a 4-1 vote, Bibb commissioners passed a resolution objecting to Staton’s bill. Commissioners said that since voters had given that authority to the school board in 2004, they thought the proposal should be put back before voters for their say rather than the change being made through legislation. They also said the new governing body would have challenges of its own without inheriting another complex budget to digest.

In his e-mail response, Staton said “the school board needs to hear a clear message” from the community.

“Why do the parents and students in our public schools have to wait any longer?” he asked. “Someone must do something. As I said at the press conference earlier this week, this is not a perfect solution. But it is what was done prior to 2004. ... The School Board needs to take action to set us on a course toward educational excellence and success for Bibb County schools and students. If they don’t act, we must step up to the plate. To do nothing is not a solution.”

Staton said he was calling on “all elected officials as well as community and business leaders to come together to find solutions that will return confidence and positive results to our schools and to remove all obstacles that stand in the way of that success.”

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