State Representatives on Decision in School Board-County Case - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

07/19/02

State Representatives on Decision in School Board-County Case

Yesterday's court ruling that shocked Savannah remains a hot topic for Chatham County School Board members. Today, members from the Chatham legislative delegation spoke out.

The school board is not happy with the judge's decision, which allows the county to collect an almost $3 million fee for tax collection--an increase of more than one million dollars from last year.

Superintendent John O'Sullivan notes, "We'll remind everyone while we're teaching them that, while we're slowing down, it's because we're paying for someone else's problems."

O'Sullivan isn't alone. State representative Ann Mueller chimes in, "I think it was a lousy decision on the part of a judge, but I'm not a lawyer."

"I am disappointed in the decision," says fellow representative Tom Bordeaux, "from a political standpoint and in fairness."

If these officials are reelected, they say they are taking the fight to Atlanta. "If the law doesn't provide that the county is capped at where they were, we will change the law to provide they are capped," insists Bordeaux.

But representative Burke Day has a different view. "I think the decision was right," he says. "I thought the law was very clear on what the county commission can do."

He says the school board and county should have negotiated a little more before heading to court. "I think the school board needs to rethink the way they do politics, Mr. O'Sullivan needs to realize this is not New York and this is not the military and you need to try a carrot not a stick."

But Representative Day agrees that at some point, the local delegation does have to step in. And a majority plan on doing just that in January when the session begins again.

In order for the local legislation to be changed, there have to be signatures from four state representatives and two senators--and remember they may have the support now, but that could change in November after the election.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro

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