READY TO GO
Maysville Elementary School fourth grader Gerardo Avila is preparing
to launch an X-15 replica model he and fellow classmates made.
The students tested the models at a special afternoon at the
Jackson County airport Thursday.
Student in Hall
fight now at JHS
School leaders say their hands are tied
and must accept boy charged with assault
A West Hall High School student who was
charged in that county last week with aggravated assault enrolled
at Jefferson High School this week. The juvenile and two other
boys were charged in Hall County last week following a fight
that left another WHHS student, 16-year-old Chris Daley, in a
JHS principle Pat Blenke said this week that since the boy's
mother lives in the Jefferson school district, the system is
required to enroll him.
"There's not a whole lot we can do," he said.
Although Jefferson does have a policy that states incoming students
have to be in "good standing," that doesn't apply to
this situation since the Hall County school system didn't take
any action against the students involved in the fight. The incident
took place Feb. 14 in Hall County, but was after school and off
school property, according to published reports.
Although the Hall County school system didn't take action against
the students, the juvenile court banned the students from WHHS.
The other two boys charged in the incident were placed in the
Alternative Learning Center in Gainesville.
Blenke said that the circumstances of the matter are unusual
since generally, school systems take some kind of action to remove
students from regular schools when they run afoul of the law.
"I've never heard of a judge saying a student couldn't go
to a particular school," he said.
Blenke said the student had at one time attended JHS and had
not been a problem at that time.
But Sen. Madden supportive of governor's
Jackson County's three school superintendents expressed strong
reservations Tuesday about the impact of the governor's proposed
education reform legislation. Speaking to the Jefferson Rotary
Club, Dr. John Jackson, superintendent of Jefferson City Schools,
Andy Byers, superintendent of the Jackson County School System,
and Larry White, superintendent of the Commerce City School System,
were in general agreement that the legislation would force local
taxes to go up to pay for new state mandates.
Calling the legislation the "most significant we've ever
had," White said that the effect of lower pupil-teacher
ratios would force the hiring of more teachers and the building
of more classrooms. He did applaud one change in the bill that
would allow for a four year phase-in of the mandates, but said
some of the language in the bill would still create problems
where school class numbers were borderline.
Byers said that sections in the bill that call for increased
accountability don't take into account the many extra programs
a school offers.
"Jackson County would get no credit for its fine arts, band
or other programs in the evaluations," he said.
Jackson said Georgia wasn't alone in attempting to reach out
to students on the lower end of the academic scale. In the past,
he said, manual labor jobs in textile and agriculture absorbed
many of those who were poor students or who dropped out of school.
But in today's automated manufacturing economy, those jobs are
"We can't turn back the clock," he said. "All
students have to be educated."
While the local superintendents are wary of the bill's impact,
Sen. Eddie Madden supports the governor's bill and will help
present part of it on the Senate floor later this week. Madden
said the four-year phase-in of lower pupil-teacher ratios would
be good for the local system since it wouldn't impact them all
at once. He also said that the phase-in would allow time for
legislative adjustments should the lower ratios cause some unforeseen
Saying "We can't stick our head in the sand," Madden
said the best part of the legislation is the increased focus
on students in K-3 who need extra help to keep up with their
"The reality is, if we're going to improve, we've got to
deal with those at the (academic) bottom," he said.
Admitting that the bill further complicates funding formulas
for schools, Madden said that if the new formulas were to have
the dire impact some critics suggest, the legislature would likely
make a mid-year adjustment in 2001 to take care of those problems.
Madden said that a Senate change to lower the mandatory attendance
age to 5 had also generated a lot of calls to his office this