Here’s a thought.
As our state government mires in red ink (projected billion dollar shortfalls dovetailed directly on tax cuts that were mandated without the benefit of a crystal ball predicting the economic implosion) Morgan County is beginning to experience in a major way how deep the divide lies between revenue and expenses.
As we learned this week, the Morgan County School system is gearing up for deeper cuts from the state. By all accounts the state has failed to fund education in Morgan County by $1.7 million in the past two years, based on prior funding allocations. In fact, according to Morgan County School Superintendent Dr. Stan DeJarnett, the county BOE is attempting to revert their budget numbers to 2008 levels to compensate for the lack of state funding.
Bottom line: the board has $1 million less to work with this year on its nearly $30 million budget.
The good news, whether you agree with it or not, Morgan is in line to receive $800,000 via the federal government in stimulus money.
The other good news is that our local board of education has kept a viable reserve fund that will carry us all through these tough times without, DeJarnett said, increases in taxes.
During flush times it is good sport to deride fund reserves in government. They’re a waste, a slush fund critics holler.
Those critics found an ear in the state house and Georgia, economists say, is woefully prepared for a long–term financial emergency.
Morgan County, at least our local school system, seems to be better prepared to weather the storm. Deferred purchasing will help, cutting costs will help, but most importantly, for the sake our children, the national reputation of our local schools should not suffer.
Maybe the ladies and gentlemen running the state government could take a page from the Morgan County playbook on conservative, fiscally sound leadership.
Or maybe it’s too late. Here’s hoping for a recovery.