The following is from Senate Pro-Tem Eric Johnson (R-Savannah) on recent hiring of John Thompson as the new Clayton County school superintendent.
I was outraged to finally see the contract with Clayton County’s new part-time School Superintendent. Even though he was declared “unqualified” by the accrediting agency, he will now receive $285,000 and a car and driver for 133 work days a year. Think about that. That is more than $2,100 a day plus benefits! Think about what that could have done if it was spent in the classroom. Some legislators, including most of the Clayton County delegation, actively opposed my attempt to give each child in these schools a $4,500 scholarship each and every year. They did it because of pressure from the same people that elected the present School Board.
Defenders of the status quo like to argue for ‘local control’. I agree. But you cannot ignore behavior like we see in Clayton. Local control isn’t government – it’s parents and taxpayers. Therefore, I believe the debate about Clayton’s schools needs to turn to ‘choice’. Should we give parents control of their own tax dollars that are spent on their child’s education? Or should we leave it with a Board that hires a Superintendent at $250 an hour? Should we let parents decide whether they should go to a local school that is not accredited or an independent school that is accredited? Should we force children to attend a school that threatens their ability to go to college and earn a higher income the rest of their lives? Or should we allow students to escape to a better school? School choice is the civil rights battle of the 21st Century.
Clayton County citizens need to demand vouchers. And they should demand them from any candidate running for the State Senate or House of Representatives. Before you vote in the July 15 primary, find out whether they think this School Board should spend their money or whether the parents should have that right.