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Should Cobb County Schools build a new central office in this economic climate? April 10, 2009

Posted by citizengeorgia in Your Comments on Other issues.

Does Cobb County need a new central office building?  We recieved an email from School Board member David Banks explaining his position on why he wants to spend money on a new building.  You can read his comments below:

I made two requests to the Superintendent concerning a new Central Office Complex.

1. That he initiate the planning process to develop plans for a new Central Office complex and present these plans to the Board as the earliest date. Many of you may not know, but the Central Office is housed in an old converted warehouse, which the staff outgrew many years ago. Currently we have staff at 15 different locations and we are paying rent to house these employees. Having central office staff spread throughout the county also creates inefficiencies that hurt productivity and cost taxpayer dollars. The first question that may come to your mind is “why make this recommendation now in these economic times?” Well there is never a good time and prior Boards have not been willing to take the political heat for such a suggestion. First, this not something that would be done right away, but in the years to come. It would symbolize that Cobb County has a great school system and its employees should have a good work environment. We would not tolerate sending our students to such a rundown, windowless facility. Then why shouldn’t the community support a Central Office complex that reflects the great school system that exists in Cobb County? Second, if we do not have plans on the table and the Federal or State government makes construction money available, then we would not be able to take advantage of those funds. Those districts that do have plans on the table will get the money, but we will be paying for it. To me it makes sense to be positioned with plans on the table just in case. How much do a few conceptual drawings cost? Thirdly, it gives hope to the Central Office staff that the community cares and the community says Cobb County is the only school system its size in the country being run out of an old converted warehouse.
2. I asked that 1.5 percent of the total budget be set aside annually into a Building fund until enough funds accumulate to pay for a new complex. I did not ask, nor do I expect, the needed funds would be adequate for several years. Many will say we are in dire economic times and this suggestion is irresponsible. I would say I have lived through several recessions, such as 1974, and those with vision for what could be would not accept defeatism and brought us out of these recessions and into boom times. It will happen again in this country and this state. As I mentioned earlier, there could be millions of construction dollars flowing to the state, and if we are prepared, we could benefit from this disbursement. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I am not advocating expending any funds until they are available. What I am asking is that a small amount of funds from our $104 million reserve account be allocated to a building fund account, without any expenditure being made. To offer an example of what I am saying, if you have $1,000 in your checking account and you take $100 and put it in your saving account, you still have $1,000. Now, you may repeat this several times until you have enough in savings to pay for whatever you were saving for. But if an emergency occurred, then you still have the unspent funds if needed.



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