September 9-- At a time when property owners in Toombs County are about to get significant increases to their school tax bills, the state school superintendent says it's Governor Nathan Deal's fault.
Superintendend John Barge says that's the main reason he's running to get Governor Deal out of office.
"One of my concerns over the period of years I've been the state school superintendent has been the lack of any vision or support for public education by the governor's office.
"Many of our school systems are drying up on the vine financially due to the lack of support from the state as far as the amount of money the state has withheld that they've earned.
"I get it about tought budget times and that the economy is rough, but we've had three consecutive years of increased revenue. It's time to start restoring fundsto our public education system because we've got entire school systems in the rural part of Georgia that are just months away from complete bankruptcy," Barge says.
According the Superintendent Barge, raising property taxes at the local level can't sustain public education.
"You raise property taxes and what good does that do? Then you've got families who may be losing their homes and their farms due to the inability to pay the increased taxes. It's a really difficult cycle and I'm just not seeing the support there for public education and that's really what's caused me to jump into this race," he said.
Barge says he wants to work on other challenges facing the state like healthcare, Medicaid and economic development.
"Georgia has consistently fallen during the last few years in its ranking nationally when it comes to unemployment. When you look at education, you've go to tie that to economic development and we've got to have a leader who understands the relationship between those two and how dependent they are on one another," he sasys.