Gov. Deal, BoE needs your help


An open letter to Gov. Nathan Deal: I bet you remember when more than one family had a “crazy uncle.”

You know what I’m talking about: Ol’ Uncle Earl’s daddy bought him the first Mustang on the showroom floor and six months later crazy Earl ran off to Panama City with a 17-year-old car hop.

Well, I hate to tell you, but some crazy uncles have taken over the Fayette County School Board and we need your help.

After only a few months in office, this bunch voted (member Mary Kay Bacallao voted no) to close decades-old community schools in Tyrone and Brooks, Ga. These were fine, God-fearing schools where the children gave choir recitals and the pledge of alliance to the flag opened most events.

These facilities were the heart and soul of these little towns and had been here for decades. For the record, Tyrone Elementary had been in operation for 82 years.

I’m new to Fayette County. But this week I drove down to Brooks, about 15 miles from my home in Tyrone, to see for myself the school they shut down this year. You turn on Price Road, and there it sits, a good-looking school, but empty, dead as far as the school board is concerned.

This facility will cost, in today’s “Obama dollars,” probably $6-8 million to replace. These facilities, may I remind the wayward school board, were bought and paid for by your local taxpayers.

The same for the Tyrone school sitting across from the Town Hall and the cemetery where some Confederate dead are among those asleep.

The school board cited the need for “cost cutting” in shutting down these good schools. This is a joke with their other recent actions and track record.

A few days ago, the Atlanta paper posted Fayette, with 8.6 administrators per 1,000 students, as neck and neck with Clayton County and second only to Atlanta in this category. They can close our community schools, but I haven’t heard a peep about the board cutting its in-house expenses.

The board then voted to spend $1.6 million for “Common Core” math books.

And this is a board whose new members are allegedly Tea Party members.

The real Tea Party folks, as you know, don’t like Common Core, and rightly so. It’s a pie-in-the-sky brand name that folks know little if anything about. I saw where the Common Core statewide testing thing is dead on arrival in Georgia. You and your state school superintendent John Barge made a U-turn recently and dropped that deal, citing a cost of $27 million.

Moreover, a news report said Cobb County is looking at buying mostly online and digital versions of new math books, saving $4.6 million in the process. It was pointed out that Cherokee County hasn’t had math books for some time and their kids are doing just fine. Cherokee County, by the way, has only 4.8 administrators per 1,000 students.

And governor, I can’t make this up. Our local paper just reported that more than half of the school board was “surprised” to learn that one of the other schools it closed will be used to relocate three of its school system programs.

It gets real funny. Deputy Superintendent Sam Sweat said the agreement to use the now closed school came from the interim superintendent and this guy’s “administrative cabinet.”

Oh, the interim guy is now history and the board has a new superintendent. If you are confused, again see the numbers above on all the administrators Fayette has on board.

The same story in The Citizen noted that the former superintendent had said there was a possible buyer for the Board’s central office. He said if that happened, the board might want to relocate to the closed Fayette Middle School. That superintendent was quickly run off by the current board.

There’s more, but I’m asking you to put some gas in John Barge’s state car and have him come down here for a camp meeting with the board about keeping these schools open.

The county commission never raised its hand to help the schools and its chairman called the school closing by the board “heroic.” That tells me he’s a nut case as well. The board itself is acting like they are taking malfeasance in pill form.

Governor, I know you are busy with school boards in Atlanta and DeKalb County, but we need help down the road in Fayette. Help us out and maybe the voters will double your salary next year, putting you close to the pay check the CEO gets over at the Atlanta Housing Authority.

James Hightower
Tyrone, Ga.