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Pedaling full speed ahead
Flying across the field with wind whipping
through my hair. Laughing as I go faster and faster and faster.
Suddenly, I come to a little hill and I am going faster than
ever before. I feel out of control. I can't stop. I scream at
my mother, who is watching my wild ride, "Help me stop!!!"
Crystal ball out, polished
It's just about time to stop talking about
what the football season could be. This Friday night, some high
school teams begin . . .
BCHS takes 3rd place
Banks County opened the softball season with
a third-place finish in the Dragon Booster Club Tournament in
Jefferson last weekend.
Banks County finished third overall in the tournament with a
Survey Shows Companies Like Doing Business Here
A survey of 31 local manufacturing plants and other businesses
shows that while the companies may have problems getting qualified
labor, they all like Jackson County as a place to do business.
Airport under temporary operations
The Jackson County Airport Authority is considering
hiring a full-time airport manager to replace its former fixed
based operator. Max Allen's contract to manage the airport as
an FBO expired July 31.
Parents concerned about school system's transportation
Over 100 parents gathered at a called meeting
of the Madison County Board of Education Tuesday night to express
their concern over the school bus schedule. At issue were whether
county buses would transport kids to a local day care and the
length of time busing kids has taken so far this year.
Comer mayor resigns
Kevin Booth has resigned as the mayor of
Comer, effective Sept. 1. He turned in his resignation Aug. 15.
The Banks County News
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ALL SMILES ON FIRST DAY
Mitchell Standridge was all smiles as he showed up for his first
day of school with his mom, Deanna.
Lula may have broken
Lula's discussions in closed session questionable
The Lula City Council may have violated state
law after discussing several broad personnel issues in a closed
session Monday night. By law, the council may only discuss issues
in closed session related to a specific employee, not a range
"Closing a meeting for personnel matters is only for discussions
pertaining to the hiring or performance of a particular individual,"
said David Hudson, Georgia Press Association legal counsel. "Pay
raises for all employees is a policy matter that must be discussed
in the open."
After the closed session Monday night, the council re-opened
the meeting and voted to raise the starting pay for all full-time
employees to $9 per hour and voted to give all permanent part-time
employees one-half day of sick leave each month. The council
also voted to promote Tony Christopher from a part-time to a
full-time maintenance position.
Lula mayor Tim Allen confirmed Tuesday that all three issues
were discussed during the closed meeting, which was not open
to the public.
The Official Code of Georgia, 50-14-3 (6) states that a council
is only allowed to discuss certain matters related to a single
officer or employee. The issues pertaining to all full-time city
employees and all part-time city employees cannot legally be
discussed in closed session and must be open to the public.
Lula attorney Brad Patten said he felt the discussions were within
"I felt the issues involved a specific employee," Patten
said Wednesday morning.
Allen signed an affidavit Monday night stating the council only
discussed those personnel issues allowed under law. The affidavit
is required by law.
Banks County students
turned away from Baldwin Elementary due to lack of space
Banks County students planning to attend
Baldwin Elementary School when classes began on Friday found
out last week that they would not be able to due to a lack of
space at the school.
The Habersham County School System reportedly blamed the governor's
education reform bill, which led to a reduction in class sizes,
as the reason Banks County students were turned away from Baldwin.
The parents were told that they could send their students to
Cornelia Elementary School, located three miles further north
in Habersham County.
What bothered many parents about the situation is that they were
not notified until Thursday that their children wouldn't be able
to attend Baldwin school on Friday.
Parents had received letters from the teachers at Baldwin Elementary
earlier last week inviting them to attend the open house on Thursday,
Aug. 17, to meet staff and see what room their children would
be in, according to Alto City Council member Susan Wade. She
said that when Banks County parents brought their children to
the open house, they were asked to leave.
"It caused a lot of distress to the children and parents,"
Wade, who is a resident of Banks County, said that her child
had already been accepted by the Habersham County Board of Education
and was enrolled in Baldwin Elementary for the 2000-2001 school
Baldwin Mayor Mark Reed said: "We're still trying to understand
what motivated Habersham County BOE to make this drastic change.
They're blaming Governor Barnes for this. But, the law, as I
understand it, allows four years for the school systems to make
the class size adjustments. Why they chose to implement the restrictions
immediately makes no sense to me. They are not taking into consideration
the effect on the children. It makes no sense that children who
live in Baldwin cannot go to school in Baldwin."
Reed said that he is also concerned that neither the Habersham
BOE nor county commissioners asked the town about the anticipated
growth within the Baldwin community.
"No one came and asked us how many new families were living
in Baldwin or how many new houses were being built," he
said. "They never asked how they could help us. They just
passed this policy."
Reed also said that some children who live on the Habersham side
of Baldwin were also refused enrollment to Baldwin Elementary
because of the way the school districts had been laid out. The
mayor said he called the Habersham County BOE and spoke with
board member Sylvia Palmer about re-drawing the school districts
and she told him that it was up to the county commissioners,
not the school board. Habersham County BOE board members reportedly
claimed that Habersham County residents would not pay for Banks
County children to attend their schools. However, Habersham County
receives funding from the state to educate the Banks County children,
according to Reed and Wade.
Reed is planning on talking to the American Civil Liberties Union
to find out if any rights are being violated by the Habersham
BOE move. He has also called the governor's office to let Gov.
Barnes know that the Habersham County BOE is blaming him for
the reassignment of Baldwin students. A staff official told Reed
that the governor would not be happy to hear this news.
"It shouldn't be this difficult to educate our children,"
stated Reed. "I don't know what's going to happen. We may
file a suit against both Habersham and Banks counties. What we
need is a meeting between the two counties and the parents so
they can hear what this issue is all about and come up with a
plan to remedy the situation. They need to hear of the stress
these parents are underthe talk of selling homes and moving
and the rejected feeling of the children who feel singled out
and who can't go to school with the kids from their neighborhood
where they grew up."
TO ATTEND STATE MEETING
Parents and city officials of Baldwin and Alto are planning to
attend the Sept. 13 public hearing at the Georgia Department
of Education in Atlanta at 10 a.m. A caravan is planned to carry
all interested parties to voice opinions on the school choice
issue now troubling the cross-county cities of Baldwin and Alto.
A petition will be presented to the state board members that
has been signed by residents of both Banks and Habersham counties
asking the board to reconsider stipulations on distance and travel
time on the public school choice issue.
Anyone may ride with the caravan and attend the meeting, leaders
say. There is a sign-up sheet at Alto City Hall and one is also
posted on the Alto playground. Those who are interested can also
call Baldwin City Hall and Alto City Hall for information.
Go to Banks
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BOE handles personnel
matters in called meeting
Four more staff members were hired in
a called meeting of the Banks County Board of Education Monday
Kathryn Walterhouse was named as a fourth-fifth grade special
education teacher, while Meredith Brooks Stewart was hired as
the chorus instructor. Dale Ballenger and Nora Sosebee were hired
as bus monitors.
In other personnel matters, the BOE approved several transfers
at the high school, including moving Melva Martin from bookkeeper
to media paraprofessional; Regina Gailey from receptionist to
bookkeeper; and Tina Walker from paraprofessional to secretary/receptionist.
The BOE also accepted the resignation of Kathy Voyles, custodian
at Banks County High School.
In other business, the BOE:
·approved an insurance quote from the Georgia School Board
Association for: general liability, $3,752; school board errors
and omissions liability, $4,615; property (including mobile equipment),
$21,700; flood and earthquake extension, $1,092; and boiler and
machinery, $810. The total annual premium will be $31,969; however,
it will be $27,094 for this first year because it is only for
an 11-month period.
·heard superintendent Deborah White say the first day
of classes Friday went smoothly. She reported an enrollment of
2,243 students, which is up 20 over the second day of classes