Stepped-up commercial zonings would help schools
June 08, 2013 11:34 PM | 1446 views | 4 4 comments | 41 41 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I am writing about the Cobb School System budget crisis. I am amazed how such a world-class community can allow its education system to hit rock bottom.

As a former Cobb Middle School teacher, recently retired, I am appalled by pay cuts, job eliminations and larger classrooms impacting the quality of our future citizens’ education. If our school board worked in corporate America, they would be fired.

I just read about a proposed solution of using commercial zoning to generate tax revenues to fund our school system. Not only would it solve our problem, but it would create jobs and new businesses sorely lacking in west Cobb.

Last year, the commissioners voted to increase property taxes by 16 percent.

Next, they voted themselves a 3 percent pay raise, while Cobb teachers had to take a 2 percent pay cut. Something is amiss.

West Cobb has ample opportunity for commercial development. We finally got The Avenue which has helped and eliminated driving to the mall on Barrett Parkway. However, we still don’t have a Whole Foods or a Trader Joes or very many restaurants.

I am all for planned commercial development if it offers millions of dollars in new tax revenues for our school system.

It appears that west Cobb Commissioner Helen Goreham needs to hear from her constituents about how these funds can eliminate school budget deficits.

Let’s pay our teachers fairly, give our students adequate resources and stop cutting teacher jobs and increasing class sizes.

Let’s work to make Cobb County the best school system in the state.

Stephanie Land

former Cobb middle school teacher
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West Cobb Farmer
June 09, 2013
First, from Marietta Square to the Cobb-Paulding county line there is an over supply of retail spaces that sit empty because the economy can't support the businesses that would fill these empty spaces. And, the businesses (including some of the chains) along this corridor are probably struggling to keep their doors open quarter-to-quarter. Even the Avenue has empty store fronts. We are still in a tough economy and a tough business environment. We certainly don't need anymore empty commercial properties that end up being commercial sprawl and community blight, period.

Second, the Cobb County School System is going to have to learn how to manage. If the current crop of management can't get the job done then we need to fire the whole bunch and replace them people who can manage and get the job done.

June 09, 2013
"I am amazed how such a world-class community can allow its education system to hit rock bottom."

- With test scores continuing to rise, graduation rates growing,school violence rates declining and East Cobb having some of the best public schools in the country - if this is rock bottom: bring it on. And all of this being accomplished with dramatically reduced funds - win/win

"As a former Cobb Middle School teacher, recently retired..."

- so, are you not going to take the senior exemption - to help ensure that there are more funds for the schools? Since you seem to think more funds will solve whatever perceived problems there are?

"If our school board worked in corporate America, they would be fired."

- Sad that you don't understand the role of a board and that the board members do work in corporate America. What the heck does the school board have to do with commercial zoning? I seriously hope that you never taught government or social studies.

"Not only would it solve our problem...."

- seriously? adding a shopping center or two is going to increased tax revenues by $65 million? I seriously hope that you never taught math or anything dealing with critical thought.

"Let’s pay our teachers fairly..."

- supply and demand help determine pay - there is no shortage of teachers

"....stop cutting teacher jobs and increasing class sizes."

- why? we are doing just fine with the dramatically reduced budgets and increased class sizes

Mike In Smyrna
June 09, 2013
As a former educator, you should realize it is Business 101.

(1) ROI: If the developer cannot yield a benefit to the investor, the developer does not build.

(2) The point of diminishing returns: The building of grocery stores or restaurants does not increase the consumer’s disposable income. Are you going to spend more on groceries (consumables) because a new grocery store is built?

Commercial zoning is not the issue. When the demographics of the Dallas Highway corridor can financially support a new restaurant or grocery store, the developers will come.

Oh brother
June 09, 2013
What is most worrisome about this LTE is that a Cobb County teacher doesn't know that the BOC and the BOE are funded completely separate. I guess we should just be glad she is a former teacher and no longer influences our middle school students.
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