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Education Forum in Vidalia
Monday, 28 October 2013

October 18--  You are being encouraged to come out Tuesday night in Vidalia and meet with members of the Georgia House and Senate Education Committees who are holding a joint "listening session" at Southeastern Technical College.

Before the Tuesday night session, the legislators are meeting with area school board members and school superintendents.  Vidalia superintendent Dr. Garrett Wilcox welcomes the opportunity to communicate with the lawmakers.

Image"There are two things.  Obviously we'd like to think at some point our state and local economies will turn around and we'd like to know the plans to restore some of the education funding that hasn't been there the last few years.

"The other thing I'd like for them to know is how hard our teachers work everyday.  They show up everyday and work with a group of kids who every year seem to need more support," Wilcox said.

The Vidalia school system's funding is unique in that the school board can't increase local property taxes beyond 15 mils. Dr. Wilcox is hoping lawmakers will find a way to help overcome that limitation next year by increasing state assistance.

"Most of us are realists.  These austerity reductions have come mostly as a result of the downturn in the economy and other state agencies have shared in these budget reductions.

"We keep hearing now that revenues are up and if we could just incrementally start restoring funding it would be a great help to our system and hopefully we could provide some more opportunities for our kids because of that," he said.

Dr. Wilcox also believes lawmakers realize how important successful schools in rural ares are to the state's overall economic development.

"My hope is that if the economy turns around, the state will use education as part of its economic development engine.  Companies that are coming into the state are going to look and see what kind of educational opportunities exist for staff and their kids.  I hope the continual funding issues we've been facing don't become a black eye as we try to attract new industriies to Georgia and Toombs County," he said.



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