Jackson Chamber of Commerce forum: What mayoral candidates had to say about schools

The Jackson Sun’s Adam Friedman decided to write on a single subject, education, when it came to the forum that was sponsored by the Jackson Chamber of Commerce.

True, the education of our children is important, but the city and its voters traded that responsibility off for a new City Hall and baseball stadium in the early 1990’s. We really don’t remember many blinking an eye over that one. The only saving grace was that the city residents agreed to allow the city to collect additional sales tax revenue to share with the county. So technically, the citizens of Jackson gave up the responsibility of local public education and payed the county to take it over.

Game Over….

Well not really. The city leaders at the time didn’t really want out completely. They didn’t turn over the schools or the land on which they resided. They, instead, leased them out to the county system for some small amount of cash. The county was burdened with maintenance, but at the time this was a pretty good deal.

Politically, the city, could laud over the fact that the county would have problems maintaining the property’s and they, the city, could blame the county for all it’s mistakes. I mean really, we give the county all of this and they can’t manage it. Very human of us….

So today, education is a political hot spot according to those that either running for office or bringing up questions about it. It assuredly will lead to the extraction of more funding for that great money pit which will lead to additional taxation.

Our friend, Jerry Woods, has been tossing the idea that:

“As mayor I would like to appoint a public liaison who would work with the superintendent, with the school board and with the county commission,” he said. “It would give the City of Jackson a direct link to public schools.”

Politically that is neat and we feel all warm about it, but it will alleviate none of the problems that exist with education. But Jerry is correct about this part:

“We use the term from time to time that the city is not in the school business,” he said “It’s impossible for us to have young people before us and say we aren’t in the school business. Ladies and gentlemen we are in the schools business because the future of our children and the future of Jackson is in education.”

But are those within the city willing to commit financially and could you actually trust city leaders with additional capital? Our answer would be no! Why you ask…. because there is no legal requirement that cities educate children. Only counties are required by the state to educate children. Everything else is a special district.

While County Commissioner Mark Johnstone and former State Representative Jimmy Eldridge agreed that supportive action to education is required, former Councilman Scott Conger, decided to promote a more divisive approach by blaming the county for the city’s reason for the removing itself from the funding game.

“If you look at holding people accountable, school funding has seen a 68 percent reduction in spending from property tax allocation since 1998,” he said. “That’s unacceptable we have to fund our schools at a high level.”

Is there a real solution to this problem? We wouldn’t ask us… this group is a little too politically incorrect so our view would probably not garner any satisfaction from the masses, but if you were to ask us we might collective say that education is not a right. Education is a gift that we give our children and nothing else. We would tell you to stop trying to make it more than that.

Romans 12:2 ESV

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.


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