Thursday, February 26, 2009

Joyner urges call to action

Joyner urges call to action

Asks parents to contact legislators about more funding for education

Publication Date: 02/25/09

The St. Johns County School District superintendent hosted another of his town hall meetings Tuesday, hoping to mobilize parents in the face of a $33 million budget cut from Tallahassee.

During Joseph Joyner's 40-minute talk at St. Augustine High School, he told the roughly 200 parents, students and educators in attendance that they need to contact their legislators and call them out on what he perceives as a waning interest in education.

With a pie chart showing the dip in how much education funding came from the state between 1998 and 2008, Joyner said, "The bottom line is the state is backing out of their piece."

On top of the projected budget cuts, prices for electricity, transportation and health care are going up.

Joyner said lawmakers should reconsider spending $309 million on building two prisons in a year the state is cutting $332.3 million from education.

Rhetorically asking the lawmakers who have promised to hold education harmless, Joyner said, "Is that just talk or is it the truth?"

After his presentation, Joyner fielded questions, most of which dealt with how the chopped-up budget would affect the county's art programs.

One man, though, came to the microphone and said since the presentation was mainly about the budget, "I don't feel that it's appropriate at this time."

No one did ask Joyner about former SAHS Principal Tyrone Ramsey, who abruptly retired Friday because he was "tired."

Last week the superintendent acknowledged there were rumors going around the school regarding Ramsey's retirement.

However, Joyner said there were no other motivations behind his stepping down.

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© The St. Augustine Record

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