DeKalb board member to voters: Thanks for the SPLOST vote

DeKalb school board member H. Paul Womack Jr. issued this statement to DeKalb voters who approved SPLOST earlier this month:

I would like to take this opportunity to say something simple that’s probably not said enough these days.

“Thank you.”

Earlier this month, the voters of DeKalb County, by an impressive margin of more than 60 percent, approved the continuation of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, or SPLOST IV, for DeKalb and other metro area school systems.

First, I’d to thank each voter for exercising their right to vote. Our right to vote on questions such as the SPLOST, and to elect the people who serve in our government, is a right too many of us take for granted. So, I’d like to especially commend those that took time to go to the polls.

I’d also like to thank the voters for their support of DeKalb Schools. As a member of the Board of Education, I take the result as both an endorsement that we are doing some things right, and a challenge that we need to continue to improve.

And as part of that challenge, I can assure those who voted for SPLOST – and those who didn’t – that we are committed to ensuring that the process of executing SPLOST projects will be transparent, professional and accountable.

Leading up to the vote, it was easy for some to suggest that the SPLOST was wasteful or unnecessary. But the simple truth is DeKalb Schools needs some $2 billion in improvements. The SPLOST, at some $475 million, will only address a fraction of that need. But, it is a critical mechanism to give our students the facilities they need, protect property values and keep the burden of school construction off the backs of taxpaying homeowners.

So, I’d like to thank all of the voters and taxpayers in DeKalb County for your support, and I look forward to working with you to make our schools the best they can be.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

20 comments Add your comment


November 23rd, 2011
1:17 pm

$2 Billion – still?!! Gee, it was $2 Billion with SPLOST 1… Wonder if we’ll ever dig our way out of our deep level of needs…

Dr. Atkinson has promised oversight. Hopefully, this will include the Check Register online. Plus – the SPLOST money should be monitored and handled completely by an outside accounting firm. Marcus Turk has plenty to do to manage the $1.2+ Billion in annual school system budget… I hope that Atkinson and the board will separate the SPLOST accounting and maintain watchful eyes over it. We can’t afford anymore fraud and corruption – we’re into attorneys for the previous SPLOSTs for untold millions — millions that must be paid out of the operations budget – not SPLOST. This directly harms the classroom

Dunwoody Mom

November 23rd, 2011
1:26 pm

Hopefully, I’m more thankful next year with a new BOE for DCSS – minus Womack.

Dunwoody Mom

November 23rd, 2011
1:31 pm

If the school system after 3 SPLOST programs STILL has 2 BILLION dollars in needs, then individuals with sound, logical minds would tell you that the funds from those SPLOST programs were not spent in a very smart manner.


November 23rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Under no circumstances should Mr. Womack “take the result as both an endorsement that we are doing some things right”. The result is attributable to voter apathy, manipulative scheduling of the vote in a cycle with no compelling reason for people to go vote and DCSS’ effective use of school busses to transport ‘yea’ voters to the polls.

This letter is meretricious, disgusting and a slap in the face to taxpayers, students and parents.

Mr. Womack, your failure is evident in the declining abilities of DCSS students and the increasing level of your slush fund.


November 23rd, 2011
1:36 pm

Seven percent of the registered voters in Dekalb County voted for SPLOST.

Dunwoody Mom

November 23rd, 2011
1:39 pm

27,632 YES votes; 18,455 NO votes SPLOST votes (I removed the City of Decatur and City of Atlanta in DeKalb votes). That is less than 10,000 vote difference. I hardly call that an “endorsement”.

Good Mother

November 23rd, 2011
1:46 pm

We’ve had this tax for fifteen years, I think. There have been ZERO improvements to my child’s school. They just continue to park another beat up trailer out back to “accomodate” the students.
I don’t trust them with my tax money.

I think that perhaps the people who voted “yes” were all the Dekalb public school overhead employees. There are about 27,000 of them arent there?

To Shar from Good Mother

November 23rd, 2011
1:54 pm

Shar, you said it so well….

“This letter is meretricious, disgusting and a slap in the face to taxpayers, students and parents.”



November 23rd, 2011
2:08 pm

Only fools give more money to those who have proven irresponsible in the past.

Attentive Parent

November 23rd, 2011
3:09 pm

The voters all over metro Atlanta gave their money to overpaid bureaucrats who have said it is to buy computer technology so that accessible information will be substituted for knowledge within your child’s brain. It’s good enough if it’s in a database somewhere.

Georgia was already pushing digital literacy and media literacy as being as important as print so now the schools will have the equipment to substitute making a film for reading a book. Not in addition to. Instead of.

There’s a word for education that’s all about learning to use tools-vocational. With academic course names so you will never know.

Fulton’s doing a victory dance as well. Between SPLOST and that charter, the dream of finally destroying academics in North Fulton is about to be a reality. The only good news in all this is that in the hurry to transfer that 21st century learning from North Carolina to Fulton, lots of useful information is coming to light.

I think we need to start making the case that educators who mislead taxpayers about what they are really doing and why are guilty of theft by deception. Except it’s not just money, its childrens’ minds.

Beverly Fraud

November 23rd, 2011
3:29 pm

I think there is a typo. Should that have read “Thank you…SUCKERS!”

And then he followed it up with the Burger King (WHOPPER)

As a member of the Board of Education, I take the result as both an endorsement that we are doing some things right, and a challenge that we need to continue to improve.

He SHOULD take it as the result of an congenitally stupid electorate, whose overriding concern is who took home the Dancing With The ALLEGED Stars Trophy. He probably DOES take it that way…lets hope so-better to have CONTEMPT for the voters than to think he is actually doing something of service for them.

[...] Diguette just sent me this piece on SPLOST, and it seems appropriate to run it now since I posted a letter to voters from the DeKalb school board member earlier today. According to figures compiled as of Oct. 28, 2011, there are 445,250 registered [...]


November 23rd, 2011
3:39 pm

Mr. Womack–
Thanks for the note, but it would mean a lot more if the board and the administration of DCSD SHOWED their gratitude by using the funds ethically, wisely, and equitably. Is that so much to ask?

Good Memory

November 23rd, 2011
3:51 pm

@ Good Mother, 1:46 pm. But… but…several months back when the blogs were all about the APS cheating scandal, you wrote entry upon entry about the terrible APS school that your children had to endure, with its illiterate teachers who spoke bad English.

Haven’t you forgotten?


November 23rd, 2011
9:20 pm

Mr Womack,
I live in district 4 and voted NO. If you run again next year I will not vote for you.

And 1

November 24th, 2011
10:20 am

Hey Paul Womack, aka Foghorn Leghorn, how about making a promise to county taxpayers that there will be no more fraud and waste with this SPLOST initiative, unlike the SPLOST III Pat Pope scandal.

You and your fellow BOE members enabled fraud, corruption, waste and bloat. Tom Bowen and the rest of the board should have resigned the day Crawford Lewis and Pat Pope were indicted for criminal enterprise.

Mal Renyolds

November 24th, 2011
10:55 am

VOUCHERS! Take control away from the bureaucrats and give it to the people! Let us vote with our vouchers public or private, DeKalb or Fulton (2 baaad choices).

Giving a drink to a drunk

November 24th, 2011
4:54 pm

TOLD YOU SO. They took it as an endorsement! Suckers!! You get what you vote for. Good job.


November 24th, 2011
10:40 pm

@Mal – everywhere vouchers have been voted on by the people, they have been rejected. Frankly, I don’t feel your children are entitled to my tax dollars to attend a private school.

Miss Management

November 27th, 2011
9:34 am

Um. Paul. I think you may have stolen the new superintendent’s thunder. It’s not your place as a board member to thank the public. Please, step away from the limelight and allow the new super to address the public as the (more humble) board for Decatur schools did.