Topic: "The Splurge" (4)
It is no secret that the test results in the public schools of Georgia are abysmal. Given, also, that the school year now begins during the second week of August, it would seem that, at last, somebody is getting serious about the fact that year-after-year, Georgia continues to produce the dumbest bunnies this side of Alabama. Over the past several years the County of Cobb, which encircles the Shire, and is overwhelmingly Republican, has struggled with the problem of financing education. Republicans, after all, are supposedly thriftier than Democrats, and would not be saddled with any tax increases for any purpose whatsoever, even for education. That is, until somebody came up with the idea of a "temporary," yet "renewable" tax for a special purpose. Thus was born the acronym SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Ordinance Sales Tax), dubbed affectionately by Frodo as "The Splurge."
"The Splurge" is not working. Teachers continue to purchase student supplies out of their salaries. Temporary trailers dot the landscape of each and every school, even before they open for service. Classes in Music, Art Appreciation, and Foreign Language are increasingly trimmed from curricula. The hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by increasing the local sales tax by a single penny must be going somewhere, doesn't it seem, dear reader? Inquiring minds, as they say, want to know; especially since the assessment is "temporarily renewable."
The Elementary School of the Shire, affectionately dubbed by Frodo as "The Gulag," lies in the pastoral setting downhill from the Shire. For the past several weeks, Frodo and his neighbor, Tom Bombadil, have looked down upon the army of contractors spreading a new layer of asphalt on the parking lot. They turn out to be the same contractors spreading petroleum by-product at the highest prices ever recorded all over school parking lots throughout the county. Some of the schools are less than two years old.
The students of the Shire may not be getting any smarter, but their parents have plenty of room to park if they show up for parent-teacher meetings.