Gainesville and Hall County Education in the Crapper

Riots may break out in Gainesville over their Superintendent driving the city schools into serious debt.

About 100 people complained loudly Thursday night about the Gainesville school system’s financial woes, with many saying they believed Steven Ballowe should go as superintendent.

“This man runs a bank,” said area resident Bill Morrison, standing next to and pointing at Dick Valentine, chief executive officer of United Community Bank. “But if he goes $7 million in the hole, he’s fired.”

Likewise, Hall County may raise taxes to pay for education issues. The voters ain’t happy about it either.


  1. newdayinga says:

    Well one of the problems is that of the 91 million dollar shortfall in the state’s education budget 1.5 million went to Hall County. Plus when you consider the unfunded mandate that goes into a 2.5% pay raise, the school system has no choice. In a county with three House members, one should ask why did they do nothing to help. It was there votes that will raise the property taxes of Hall County. Of those three only one has a challenger this year. He is a democrat that says he can keep from raising our property taxes by stopping unfunded mandates and voting against frivolous spending like the Governor’s horse barn. You should check out his website at With all of the fussing over state CRCT scores, why is no one blaming the General Assembly for cutting education. The bucks should stop somewhere let’s stop it at the General Assembly.

  2. Goldwater Conservative says:

    Mandates, schmandates. Everybody should receive pay raises that are proportional to the rise in inflation…at least if they are gov’t employees.

    That is bad news about Hall county though. And to think, Nathan Deal and Casey Cagle are from Gainesville as well.

    Maybe the city should scrap their plans to build a new water park and start focusing on real priorities.

  3. jsm says:

    State Rep. Carl Rogers (R-Gainesville) weighed in last night on Gainesville’s problems and recommended replacing the school superintendent. He also has threatened legislation to dissolve the district if corrections are not made.

    Rogers was also on Martha Zoller’s radio show this morning and made very clear that he is unimpressed with the superintendent’s management abilities. He also said he felt the superintendent should live in the district and be a “friend of the community.” I didn’t know he lives outside the district.

  4. newdayinga says:

    Rogers wants to dissolve school board. What happened to local control? I agree that Gainesville has their problems and that it seems that Ballowe has been asleep at the wheel, but why we want Cathy Cox running Gainesville Schools. She can’t even administer a test, and if you think Gainesville has problem with fiscal responsibility look at our legislature. They had a 22 billion dollar budget, but couldn’t find a way to fund education, transportation, trauma care, or mental health. With all that not funding, you would have thought we were getting a tax cut. On no. The leadership loves money to much. This year we need to vote for real conservatives. Check out this guy: He is for property tax assessment freezes and priority based spending in the budget process. Enough is enough.

  5. jsm says:

    Strickland doesn’t have a chance, and Gainesville is not even in the district he’s running for. Furthermore, he wants to merely keep throwing money at our school systems without requiring accountability for educational improvements. He also said on air that he supports Senator Kennedy’s idea of having the feds choose a nationwide standard curriculum rather than allow “local control.”

  6. newdayinga says:

    I think I heard that debate. Are you the JSM that debated him? It was a laugh. You tought that $8,000 was enough money for students to go to private schools. You also said that we increased spending in education when even the Republicans will tell you they left it $91 million short. Since he is a teacher, I guess he would know something about accoutability. And by the way, don’t tell the people of Maple Forge subdivision that we are not in Gainesville, Georgia. We pay those taxes. I would support this conservative Democrat before I will vote for the Tax and Spend Liberal that currently holds H.D. 25 seat.

  7. jsm says:

    I am he, newday, and I still think that far less than $8k/yr is necessary to educate a child. I know of at least two private schools in Hall County that are providing far better educational results than the public schools for around $4k/year. They may not have all the extra programs that the school system has, but they’re teaching kids how to read & write, solve problems, and succeed in a competitive world. If public school systems had to compete for students, they’d be producing a way better product for less than $8k/yr.

    What I said about educational spending is that the federal govt dramatically increased its education outlays from 2001-2006. There is no denying that fact.

    I’m sorry you’re in one of those Gainesville-annexed areas on the edge of the 25th district, because although you pay the taxes, your representative just won’t get the same attention from the Gainesville school board as the representative from the 26th. My point remains that the 25th district is South Hall, and most people there don’t care about Gainesville government. They have enough issues of their own to deal with.

  8. newdayinga says:

    Well thanks for your honesty. The federal goverment has increased spending but when you take a look at the federal goverment’s financial role in education it is negligible. As for those private schools: do they accept all students? Do they participate in NCLB? How are they held accountable? Our public schools, though flawed, educate 1.6 million students, and regardless of all the media hype most of those students are successful. As a conservative that has voted for several republicans, this year I am voting for a Democrat. Have you ever thought that the reason Gainesville has no respect for James Mills is he has not been a responsible legislator for Hall County. I have lived here for 12 years, and I never even heard of James Mills. Now, he is suddenly showing up to every civic event in Hall County. We need a representative that cares about us all the time not just when his job is on the line. I agree with you that Goverment and money is not always the answer, but surely we can help the least of these.

  9. jsm says:

    new, I have lived in Hall County for 8 years and have known James Mills for 7 of those. How do I know him? I met him at public events. It’s a little disingenuous to say, “Now, he is suddenly showing up to every civic event in Hall County.” He’s been an active participant in the community as long as I’ve known him, and he has proven to me that he is a dedicated conservative. He also returns my calls promptly, even though I don’t even live in his district, and he always gives me an honest answer to any question I ask. He has been quick to help me with two government-related issues when I asked. James Mills makes no bones about his conservative views, and his record reflects the same. You’ll not find a finer conservative with James’ rapport around this state to represent you under the dome.

    I’m sure your guy is very nice, but he’s no conservative. Conservatives don’t solve problems by indiscriminately throwing money at them. He has much to learn before he can represent you well.

    BTW, I’d like to see your proof that Republicans left education “$91 million short.” Democrats are very good at making “cuts” out of increases, when the increase is not as much as they want. The state’s FY’09 budget for education increased by $388.6 million over FY’08.

  10. newdayinga says:

    Well Tommy Benton is not a Democrat, and he is the one that say we made up all of the cuts to education except for 91 million dollars. He said that like he should be proud.

    My other statement to you is, “If you like James Mills so much, what do you think about Glenn Richardson? Did you really support his great plan? What about his ruthless running of the House and refusing to debate Senate bills? Surely you cannot be supportive of his tactics this year.

  11. Bill Simon says:

    “Goldwater Conservative” said THIS: “Mandates, schmandates. Everybody should receive pay raises that are proportional to the rise in inflation…at least if they are gov’t employees.

    What page of Barry Goldwater’s book, “The Conscience of A Conservative” does that directive appear, GC?

  12. jsm says:

    Okay, new. This is getting silly. Quoting some guy without knowing his sources and the context of his statement is irresponsible. You need to know your numbers and be sure you can back up what you’re saying.

    Secondly, Mills is not Richardson’s boss, and holding Mills responsible for the bickering power struggle among the legislative chambers and the gov’s office is unfair. If you’d like to know Mills’ position on the GREAT plan, ask him. He’ll give you an honest answer. He gave me one.

  13. newdayinga says:

    Okay as soon as he calls me back, I will ask him, but I think the election will be over before hell freezes.

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