These three boys from Cub Scout Packs
86 (Nicholson) and 795 (Dry Pond) take a look at the competition
from Jefferson Pack 158 during the annual Cub Scout Pinewood
Derby. The three packs held the joint event in Jefferson Saturday
with some 78 Cub Scouts from Jackson County participating. Shown
here are: (L to R) Luis Verduzco, Pack 86, Jake Stritch, Pack
795 and Blake Dearman, Pack 795. A listing of winners will be
published next week.
Photo by Travis Hatfield
'No' on education bill
BY ANGELA GARY
Rep. Scott Tolbert voted against the governor's controversial
education bill in a committee hearing Tuesday. A member of the
House Education Committee, Tolbert said he voted against the
bill because of the potential additional costs it would bring
to local school systems and because he'd only received the final
draft the night before.
The education proposal was approved 15-9 by the education committee
and was slated to go to the House of Representatives for consideration
"It's 151 pages and they expected you to vote on it today,"
said Tolbert on Tuesday. "I could not, in good conscience
vote for that because we don't know how it will impact the budget
for each systemhow much money it's going to cost us and
what the tax burden will be on each system. Those are the major
concerns. If those questions were answered, I could vote for
Tolbert said the parts of the education proposal he likes are
more accountability and more local funding.
"There is a lot of good stuff in there," he said. "Of
course, the bad stuff is right now the unknown - the unknown
being what it will cost us."
After the education committee meeting ended late Tuesday afternoon,
Tolbert met with the three Jackson County superintendents, Andy
Byers, John Jackson and Larry White.
Jackson said Wednesday that he still doesn't have specific information
on the financial impact the proposal would have on the Jefferson
system, but he feels better about it after speaking with leaders
from the state planning and budget office.
"Until I get the financial allotment sheet from the state,
I'm not going to be in a position to speak on specifics,"
he said. "All I can go on is what we were told yesterday
from the representative from planning and budget. If what I understood
him to say is an accurate assessment of what we should be drawing
down, then I do not have as many concerns about the financial
situation as I did when I went over there."
Jackson pointed out that the bill is still "somewhat fluid,"
as amendments are likely as it goes on to the House and Senate
"There is always a certain amount of uncertainty that is
going to be attached to anything like that," he said. "They
have given the systems a little bit more latitude of how to spend
money for direct instruction compared to the way the law was
which should help us in being able to meet some of our needs."
Jackson also pointed out that Jefferson is in a better situation
as far as the proposed student-teacher ratios because it began
working toward this last year.
"The time of that couldn't have been better because it has
put us much closer to the target maximum class size than we probably
would have been had that not been done," he said. "I'm
sure it will impact us, but the impact may not be as drastic.
If we had been in a situation where we had significant numbers
of classes throughout the system operating at or above the maximum
class size, then we would have a significant amount of catching
up to do.
"We weren't able to get the numbers down where we wanted
in every case, but we made headway. It will definitely ease the
impact that this law will have."
BOC seeks planning
Wanted: Someone to attend lengthy monthly meetings, often making
controversial decisions. Knowledge of county planning and land
use matters preferred.
The qualifications may not sound that appealing, but the county
desperately needs someone to serve on the Jackson County Planning
Commission. The nine-member board has been short one member for
almost four months. The seat is for the post held by Thomas Benton,
who retired after serving on the commission for more than 30
years. The area is District 255, which includes Hood's Mill Road,
Harris Lord Cemetery Road and Yarbrough's Crossing.
The board of commissioners agreed Tuesday night to seek applicants
from those interested in serving the four-year term. Applications
may be sent to David Clabo, Jackson County Board of Commissioners,
67 Athens Street, Jefferson, Ga., 30549.
Jackson on state
'green space' list
Jackson County could be eligible for state funds to preserve
green space if a program recommended by Gov. Roy Barnes becomes
Barnes is asking that the 40 fastest-growing counties in the
state, including Jackson, Hall and Gwinnett, be eligible for
these funds. He is asking the floor leaders to introduce the
"Georgia Community Green Space Initiative" in the General
To receive funds, a county would have to establish an approved
green space protection plan by Jan. 1, 2001, with a goal of preserving
20 percent of its land as green space.
Jackson County leaders have already been making plans on preserving
green space. Several county leaders met with University of Georgia
consultants about land preservation issues.
BOC hears appeal
for animal control
A woman leading the effort to bring a Humane Society to Jackson
County once again appealed to the board of commissioners to address
Sandy Wells told the BOC Tuesday night that animal control ordinances
are the "least expensive and most needed service" a
county can provide. She pointed out that those organizing the
Humane Society in the county asked the BOC last year for assistance
in animal control with no action being taken.
"You really have the power do something before this year
ends," she said.
No action was taken. BOC chairman Jerry Waddell pointed out that
animal control could mean an increase in taxes.