State aid for public schools likened to “shell game”

After a presentation last night, Oconee County councilmen have in hand the official request for funding the local public schools for a new year beginning July 1. In all, the county public schools are banking on $92 million—an increase of $2.8 million. As for state aid for the local schools, interim superintendent Michael Thorsland said the state is willing to provide an extra $1.5 million to educate poor students. At the same time, he said, the state intends to reduce the rest of the funding to the local district by an identical amount. Thorsland likened that to a shell game, and Council Chairman Joel Thrift commiserated, “It’s some of that new math.” Some of the ire with which members of the council hold for the state when it comes to aid to local governments surfaced during the presentation of the county administrator’s recommendations for spending the next year.