Tax increases are always unwelcomed news, and that is something we all understand.
Nobody wants to pay more to entities when they have already given so much away. However, it sometimes isn’t the fault of the governmental bodies asking for the request either.
Enter the Putnam County School Board. On Tuesday, the board approved a 2 mill increase to help continue running a strong school system for the county.
However, superintendent Eric Arena said that even with the millage increase, the system would still have to make cuts and tighten its belt.
Why was the increase needed? Well, after the tragedies that occurred on many campuses last year, the board of education decided it would be a good idea to have money set aside for long-term security improvements. We certainly can’t blame them on that.
The bulk of the additional requirements, however, came from the State of Georgia and not the local school board.
Teachers need to be paid more and their retirements need to be secure, no one is arguing with that. However, the state when making those decisions should have been prepared to financially provide for school systems to do so.
In the 1980s, the State of Georgia covered 80 percent of funding for each school system while the systems were expected to handle 20 percent. In Putnam County it has not been the case in at least 10 years.
The state changes the requirements, the state doesn’t provide the adequate funding, and the Board of Education has to raise the taxes and take the brunt of the blame. Putnam County isn’t the only one who faces those challenges. It is certainly a problem through Southern Georgia, Central Georgia and Eastern Georgia at the very least.
We know teachers matter and that without good schools and hospitals, economic development for this area is at risk. The Board of Education had to make a hard decision.
We just know there are other factors at play, and unfortunately for the school system, they have to be the face of a problem created by the state.