Staton files bill on school board taxing power

mlee@macon.comMarch 4, 2013 

ATLANTA -- State Sen. Cecil Staton, R-Macon, filed a bill Monday that would let Bibb County voters decide whether to take away the county school board’s power to set taxes.

His Senate Bill 247 asks Bibb voters if the Macon-Bibb County consolidated government should have a sole taxing authority, taking away the Macon-Bibb County Board of Education’s taxing and budget independence.

Staton said he thinks the school board has shown itself “an unfaithful steward of taxpayer dollars with respect to deficit spending and their dealings with the last two superintendents.” The last two superintendents were paid to leave the post.

His proposal means the school board would approach the county commission with its annual budget request, just like other county departments, including the sheriff’s office and the judiciary, already do.

If the state Senate, House of Representatives and Gov. Nathan Deal agree with the plan, the vote in Bibb County would be set for July. Then if voters approve, the law would take effect in January 2014, about the same time the new merged Macon-Bibb County government is seated.

The Bibb County Commission now in office, however, does not want to oversee the education budget. On Feb. 22, just after Staton first outlined his bill, the commission voted 4-1 for a resolution objecting to the plan.

“They have nothing to do with it,” Staton said of the current commission. “It has to do with consolidated government that takes effect in January 2014. Frankly, I’m not concerned about the opinions of people who may or may not be involved” after consolidated government elections later this year.

Several school board members have also voiced objection.

The Bibb County Board of Education only gained taxing and budget authority in 2004, when a referendum split it away from county commission oversight. If successful, Staton’s bill would allow voters to reverse that decision.

Staton has until about mid-April to pass the bill this year, when the annual state legislative session is expected to end. If unsuccessful, he could renew the effort next January.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service