If the CCSD keeps this up, the September special election they want will be a moot point, since they won’t get around to making a decision until December.
According to today’s ABH, the school board once again failed to make a decision one way or the other concerning the proposed September 19 special election on the SPLOST referendum. Basically, the community would rather they save the $41,000 and hold the election on – gosh, we don’t know – election day? The school board, or perhaps the consultants the school board is employing, would rather see the election go down on September 19, where it would be the only thing on the ballot.
In the ABH story, CCSD Superintendent Lewis Holloway is quoted. Sez Holloway: “We're still getting a lot of concern about the amount of things that are going to be on the ballot.” Oh really, sir? We can’t help but wonder if Jane Kidd is concerned about the number of races on the ballot? How about Doug Lowery? James Garland and Andy Rusk both read this blog regularly – how about it fellers? Are you guys worried about all those races above you on the ballot? Maybe so, maybe not; doesn’t matter because Jane and Doug and James and Andy don’t have a choice. They don’t get to have special elections because there’s “a lot of concern” that voters may get tired “Ballot fatigue” is a real phenomena, be we don’t see any reason why the school district should have any sort of advantage that candidates don’t have.
We’d also like to point out the “consultant” factor mentioned in the ABH. We’re all for calling in the pros from Dover when necessary, but is it necessary to have consultants advise you as to the appropriate election date? To be fair, those consultants are probably doing much more than advising the CCSD to have a special election, but you’ll pardon us if we think that these financial consultants should keep their hot little hands off the political side. How much are the pros costing us anyway? More than the projected $41,000 for the special election they’re recommending?
Finally, we’d like to discuss the perception factor on this whole special election deal. What’s the real story here? Is the CCSD trying to put one over on us? We ask this because that’s a legitimate perception that could arise from the situation. You’ve got a school district that is bending over backward to ensure that an election on a fairly important revenue and spending program doesn’t happen on election day, when turnout is relatively high. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility to ask why the significantly lower turnout for a special election is a benefit for the CCSD. Is it because SPLOST isn’t particularly popular among some segments of the Athens-Clarke community? Is it because they don’t want to make the effort to actually sell the program to the voters? We don’t know. Your crack editorial staff usually supports SPLOST, and we’ll be voting on September 19, if that’s when the election is.
But here’s a gentle suggestion for the CCSD. Take the $41,000 if it’s that important to you, but have the election in November, like you’re supposed to. Spend the $41,000 on an effort to educate the voters about why they should vote for SPLOST. If you’re going to spend millions of our dollars, doesn’t the community deserve to give you a real mandate?
Related: Athens Banner-Herald: “Decision again postponed on tax referendum” 03/03/06