Some senior citizens of Troup County have made a request to the Board of Education that strikes me as an extreme example of irresponsible citizenship. They have requested to be exempt from paying property taxes (to public schools) because they are 62 years of age or older. The argument may also take the shape that since senior citizens do not have children in public schools, then they should not be required to support the schools via property tax. I write this letter to strongly encourage the Troup County community to contact the Board of Education and oppose this request.
I am appalled that some community members suggest that they should not be responsible for the education of younger generations. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workforce. These students are the future upon which this country depends. Funding for public education in Georgia is not robust. A tax exemption based on a citizen’s age and/or presence of children in the school system will further constrain public school budgets, eliminating substantial funds from an organization that already requires teachers to purchase some of their own academic materials.
The seniors claim that their tax relief “can be achieved without affecting teachers and students.” A review of the Troup County School System budget makes evident that the Board of Education is frugal with funding for schools. Math necessitates that cutting millions of dollars from the Troup County School System budget will compromise the ability of teachers to effectively teach, as well as reduce the learning opportunities provided to students.
Finally, I ask citizens to consider the role the public school system has in attracting businesses and industries to LaGrange. Before my husband and I moved here, one question I asked our realtor and during my job interview was about the state of the public schools in Troup County. I offer to you that if a substantial number of my colleagues’ children did not attend public school, we might live in a different city. I am certain that other adults who move to LaGrange have the same inquiry about Troup County’s public schools.
In order to make your opinion on this request known, you can contact the members of the Board of Education via email. Their email addresses can be found at the Troup County School System website. Further, the next work session for the Board of Education is Jan. 13 at 5:30 p.m., in the board room at 100 North Davis Road, Building C. They will hear public comments at that time. Community opposition to this property tax exemption request will make a compelling statement about community support of our schools, teachers and students.