Columbia County Planning Committee Chairman Jim Cox, referring to the Columbia County Board of Education
During the December 5th Columbia County Planning Committee meeting, Chairman Jim Cox-in response to a citizen’s complaint of school overcrowding in Harlem-made what was a surprising statement for many in attendance.
Cox was explaining that, as far as his understanding was, the funding formula for schools in Georgia is portables must be in place five years before the state will look at giving the local boards funding for additional schools.
“So when we redraw school lines again because of things like this…” the concerned citizen began. “and that’s the Board of Education you are going to talk to. That’s not us.” Cox interjected.
“Shouldn’t you be working hand in hand with them to control the population?” Cox was asked.
This apparently touched a nerve with the chairman.
“If you could get them to return my phone call I’d appreciate it,” Cox retorted. “I’ve been on this board for twelve years. And do you know how many phone calls I’ve received, in return to my many phone calls? That many.” (holding up one finger.
No, not that one)
“I’ve mentioned this before and all that happened to me was she (Superintendent Sandra Carraway) called and was upset that I mentioned this,” Cox continued. “We’ve tried time and time and time again, from the Board of Commissioners to the Planning Commission, and them to work hand in hand, but they want to work independently.”
Cox said that the Board of Education feels working with the Planning Commission may create a conflict of interest.
“I understand that viewpoint. I don’t particularly agree with that viewpoint. I mean, I’ve got kids in school here, so I understand what you’re saying.”
Cox went on to say he has tried multiple times to get the parties to sit down and work together.
“We’ve tried to get our traffic people together with them. And I won’t bore you with those details.”
Cox says he even went so far as to attempt a little subterfuge to encourage more collaboration.
“I set up a lunch so that folks from both sides would meet because they wouldn’t get together. So, I surprised them and invited them both to lunch and didn’t tell them the other was going to come. They agreed they were going to work together. And they don’t.”