That’s how many showed up at a Lindale meeting of the community-wide Parent Advisory Council in reaction to the announced RIF (reduction in force) of 119 Floyd County School System positions. The gathering even had one of the most savvy state figures regarding all things budgetary speaking — Alan Essig, executive director of the Georgia Budget Policy Institute.
If 600 instead of 60 had shown up perhaps the state politicians might have gotten nervous, but 60 just proves to them how disengaged voters in general have become. It also shows how all the “charter school” noise, supposedly led by parents wanting more of a say in their local classrooms (the entire Floyd system is now charter), has a problem: A majority of parents remain either disinterested or unwilling to invest actual participatory time.
These types of cutbacks are happening all across the state and in some places have drawn much larger throngs to various public gatherings. Think the Floyd cuts are bad? In Fayette County (20,000 students compared to the Rome-Floyd total of about 15,000) the RIF is for 300 positions — and four schools are being closed.
Such shutterings — some locals still remember Cave Spring High, Johnson High and McHenry High — could well be the next backpack to be dropped in these parts. Nor is that necessarily bad, but the time to discuss it — with more than 60 taxpayers participating — is before it is done, not after a “sorry, no other choice” is announced.