Local groups present wish lists for 2011
by Jon Gillooly
December 08, 2010 12:00 AM | 2057 views | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MARIETTA — Various local entities paraded before members of Cobb’s legislative delegation on Monday to present their “wish lists” of changes they hope to see result from the 2011 General Assembly, which convenes Jan. 10.

Here’s a glimpse of what the groups asked for:

Marietta City Schools

* Reinstate funding for technical college dual enrollment program.

Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck: "One area that legislators are probably going to hear universally from school districts is that they would like the reinstatement of the full funding for technical college dual enrollment program so that we can continue to form viable partnerships with the post secondary schools, the career tech pathways, and still be able to sustain supporting full classrooms and the teachers that need to teach in them."

* Support digital learning infrastructure.

Lembeck: "In the schools, we're preparing our students for 21st century learning. We're adding more technology. They're using more technology, as are our teachers. Therefore we need the infrastructure to support that. So what I'm saying is that I might be able to buy the hardware for students to use; however, they don't have internet access when they're not in school, many of our children without means, but I think if there was a way for the legislature to work to incentivize cities and counties to have WiFi clouds in certain areas, that would be helpful."

* Don't use public education dollars for private schools.

Lembeck: "I believe that right now the state is not fully funding and able to meet its funding obligation to public education, so therefore don't increase the access of other organizations to provide education when you're not fulfilling your first obligation."

Kennesaw State University

* $20.3 million for 82,900 square feet of additional classrooms.

* $6.4 million for infrastructure expansion, for a combination of utilities and land purchase.

KSU president Dr. Dan Papp: "You know, we're slammed for territory and academic spaces as well."


* Continue to support public K-12 schools with adequate state funding.

Otha Thornton Jr., of Smyrna, a retired Army Lt. Col. who serves as state legislation chair for the Georgia PTA: "As we know, since 2002 we've had a very significant $4 billion reduction."

* Support efforts to increase the graduation rate in Georgia through mandatory attendance until graduation or age 18. (Presently in Georgia you can drop out at age 16.)

* Support public funding for education in public schools exclusively.

Cobb County Association of Educators

* Support smaller class sizes.

* Support a statewide discharge policy written with the input of CCAE.

* Support a statewide bill of rights for teachers, much like the one in Cobb, where the CCAE can sit in on disciplinary hearings for teachers.

Connie Jackson, president of the CCAE: "We believe every teacher in the state deserves the same right."

Cobb County Marietta Water Authority

* Eliminate the barrier in the law that prevents using eminent domain when it comes to water supply needs.

Glenn Page, CCMWA general manager: "When a reservoir is permitted, you have to compensate, replace or save like areas in terms of wetlands, streams, maybe endangered species habitats. In the case of a reservoir, a lot of times you're talking about acres and acres of linear miles and miles of streams... In Georgia law, that is considered a conservation easement, and there is a prohibition against using eminent domain in the taking of a conservation easement."

* Oppose legislation that limits inter basin transfers.

Page: "I just want to reiterate that inter basin transfers are critical to meeting the water supply needs for Cobb County, for Paulding County and for basically a majority of counties in the state of Georgia. One-hundred-eight of the 159 counties in Georgia straddle a ridge line, meaning there are two river basins in those counties and over a million Georgians depend on an inter basin transfer to receive water. We believe that inter basin transfers are best addressed at the rural level through DNR and through EPD rather than through legislation. If we get into legislation, of course that opens every permit request or change to a lawsuit and interpretation of that law."

* Appoint board members at staggered times.

The Cobb County Marietta Water Authority is governed by a seven-member board, who serve four-year terms. Three members are appointed by the Cobb Legislative Delegation at the same time.

Page: "By staggering those it will help maintain a healthy stability and consistency on the board."

Cobb Chamber of Commerce

* Support legislation permitting a fractional penny SPLOST for economic development purposes.

Heath Garrett, who chairs the Chamber's Governmental Affairs Committee: We need the flexibility particularly in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton and some of the other much larger counties to possibly split that penny and give the taxpayer a break, so you don't have to have a full one penny for education, a full one penny for transportation in the future. It's absolutely our opinion that we need at least a few more years for a transportation SPLOST to go forward ... however, we do believe that as we wrap that up and we wrap up this next education SPLOST, we as a community need to have a serious discussion about how we split that penny because the build out for our education system and for our transportation hopefully will be taken care of in these last couple of SPLOSTs. If we start splitting that penny and maybe adding other things into that fractional penny, I think we can give the taxpayers a break hopefully in a few years and roll one of those back."

* Support the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.

Garrett: "We recognize it here in Cobb County, being a part of the logistical economy that we have here in Atlanta, Georgia, that we would benefit as much as anybody else in the state ... with that expansion because of the amount of freight and economic expansion that would provide that comes right through Cobb County in all forms of transportation and everything else."

City of Acworth

* Point of sale to be able to determine where sales taxes are collected.

Acworth Alderman Bob Weatherford said sales tax collections are divided up between cities and counties by population, even though the businesses which generate the funds may not be in those locations. In other words, the county may be receiving more tax revenue based on its population even though the cities are producing the revenue.

"We feel a lot of the sales taxes collected are in the city," Weatherford said. "We need to know where the data is."

Weatherford said the group that represents counties in Georgia, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, is opposed to the state releasing that data.

"It's political, not technical," he said.

* The Acworth youth council, made up of students from Allatoona and North Cobb high schools, requested a change in the state statute to allow for voting at age 17, since state law subjects 17-year-olds to adult criminal charges. Weatherford made the request for the council.

Town Center Area Community Improvement District

* Look favorably on any action to further the connectivity of Town Center's regional activity center to other regional activity centers

Lanie Shipp, executive director of the Town Center Area CID: The "area's real need is some type of high capacity transit to connect with other regional activity centers." Town Center is one of 5 CIDs currently studying a plan from 400 to KSU/Town Center via I-285 and I-75, she said.

Legislators who attended the daylong session, held at the Central Library in Marietta, were: Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock), state Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb), outgoing state Sen. John Wiles (R-Kennesaw), state Reps. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb), Sharon Cooper (R-east Cobb), Judy Manning (R-Marietta), Alisha Thomas Morgan (D-Austell), Ed Setzler (R-Acworth), and state Reps.-elect David Wilkerson (D-Austell), Sam Teasley (R-Marietta) and Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna).

Comments-icon Post a Comment
top cat
December 12, 2010
The school boards don't want public money to be used to support private schools? Hey school boards, where do you think the public money comes from? Public money is really private money that has been forcibly taken by govt.

How about this? How about if you don't have a child in public school, you don't pay the 75% of property tax that goes to ppublic schools and you don't pay public school bonds and you don't pay the SPLOST for public schools and you don't contribute to public school teacher and employees pensions.
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