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Group to target school funding shortfall
After seeing the decline in funding for public schools in Glynn County over the last several years, Vince Joubert-Davis decided it was time to act.

"The funding situation with the schools has a real impact on the community," said Joubert-Davis, a former chairman of the Glynn County Democratic Party. "So I thought maybe it was time for the community to see what it can do to fix this crisis."

To find out, he founded the School Funding Crisis Committee. He hopes it will call attention to the issue.

"This is not about ideology or politics. It's about the nearly 13,000 school children here," Joubert-Davis said.

State austerity cuts to education funding in 2003 were supposed to be for one year only, he said. They have instead happened every year since, creating a funding crisis that will likely continue to get worse, Joubert-Davis said.

He hopes to bring educators, business people, elected officials and other residents into a grass roots campaign to let legislators know how the laws they make are affecting people at a local level.

To make a difference, the first step is identifying the root issues, Joubert-Davis added.

"Until we understand the problems, the solutions are elusive," he said.

Joubert-Davis said he has spoken with around 35 people so far who want to be a part of his committee, which will target three primary funding issues for Glynn County Schools.

The first is telling legislators about the effects of cuts to the state education budget, which in the past provided 48 percent of the local school system's budget. Today, that number has dropped to 35 percent, putting more burden on the local property tax base that has decreased in value.

On a recent trip to Los Angeles, Joubert-Davis visited classrooms with more than 35 students as a result of education funding cuts there.

"Our class sizes have already gone up, but I don't want to see it happen like that here," Joubert-Davis said.

The committee's second goal will be to place a senior homestead exemption measure on the ballot again with changes to how income limits are calculated. School administrators say the law in place now has cost the school system around $3 million a year in revenue.

Joubert-Davis said he does not want to repeal the law, but he just wants to implement it properly.

The final goal of the committee will be to vote down House Bill 1162, also called the charter school amendment, that would reestablish a state commission with the power to approve charter schools to be operated along side local school districts. Joubert-Davis said the bill would pull more money from the local districts in addition to the cuts already made by the state.

Learn more

The School Funding Crisis Committee's first public meeting will be 7 p.m. today at the Unitarian Universalists of Coastal Georgia Church, 1710 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.

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