School bill topic of town hall meeting Sat.

Fri, 03/28/2008 - 6:57am
By: John Munford

Sen. Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone) will host a community meeting about Senate Bill 458 and other education issues this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Fayette County government complex.

The meeting will take place in the chambers of the Fayette County Commission. Other legislators and education leaders are expected to attend. The Fayette County School Board will not be able to attend because of its long-scheduled strategic planning session that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the LaFayette Educational Center.

"This is something we care deeply about and we would not want our absence to be misconstrued as we are not worried or do not care about this issue: because we do care," said schools spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach.

The bill drew much political heat earlier this week when it was discovered that an amendment required other school systems to accept students from districts which lose their accreditation.

Chance said he was misled on the content of the amendment, which was passed by "unanimous consent" on the Senate floor. Under that process, the chair of the meeting asks if there is any opposition and if none is voiced, the amendment automatically passes, Chance said.

The bill has since been amended by the House of Representatives thanks in large part to Rep. Matt Ramsey (R-Peachtree City) who carried the 1,500-plus emails he received to House leaders to sway them to change the bill.

Now the bill says other school systems "may" accept Clayton students, meaning they have the choice to say no.

Local residents are worried that forcing Fayette schools to accept Clayton residents would cause a tremendous financial burden. The author of the initial legislation ... and the subsequent amendment that added the requirement ... was Sen. Eric Johnson (R-Savannah), president of the Senate and a devout advocate of school choice.

Although Johnson's initial bill said the school systems' decision could be based on whether or not there was enough space to handle the students, the bill did not outline how that space would be calculated.

The Georgia Department of Education maintains counts on how many students can be housed in a given school, but the bill did not make reference to whether or not those figures would be used to calculate how much room a given school has.

The amendment requiring other school systems such as Fayette to take Clayton students was authored by Johnson, Sen. Valencia Seay (who represents a part of northern Fayette County) and another Senator from Marietta.

Berry Dreisbach said there was too little notice of Chance's town hall meeting to be able to cancel the strategic planning session, which will help the board lay out its vision for the school system for the coming year.

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kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 5:25pm.

I emailed Ronnie Chance a few days ago in ref to SB458. I never received a phone call or reply, but I just got the following:
"I hope you can make it. Ronnie"

Guess he is talking about the meeting tomorrow morning at 9:30.
Just thought I would pass this along...

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 7:04pm.

Ronnie wasn't talking about the meeting. He was saying that "He hopes you can make it" after he screws up the foundation of this great county and penalizes those of us who actually pay his wages. Remember, he's after your continued support. Both politically and financially. Ronnie has become one of those guys who starve and die if not for the subsitence he receives from lobbyist and the government.


The Sissy And The Word Defined

kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:03am.

Good morning to all: I can't get to the meeting this morning. We are having work done on the house and one guy can't change his time to get by here this morning. Really wanted to hear what everybody had to say. Hope everyone has a great Saturday.
Cy, you stay out of trouble with Mrs Cy, you being around all those females today... Better you than me.. Isn't this your last year for this? Trust me, you won't miss it!

Cyclist's picture
Submitted by Cyclist on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:48am.

I'll done with my band obligations tonight.

Caution - The Surgeon General has determined that constant blogging is an addiction that can cause a sedentary life style.

kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:52am.

Congrat's to you then! Trust me, you will enjoy your free weekends again, minus all the drama Smiling

kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:41pm.

Ref: Meeting in the morning with Ronnie..... I'm going to try my best to be there, having to move schedule around. I will take notes.
Yep, Ronnie's email reply to me was short & sweet..... followed by the press release of the meeting. I will pass along any notes that I get. Did you get my email earlier?

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:47pm.

I might just be there myself.

Didn't see your e-mail. I'll check the junk mail. Probably got to approve it.


The Sissy And The Word Defined

kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 8:51pm.

Just let me know. Have you heard if any other of us regular bloggers are planning on going?

kjam's picture
Submitted by kjam on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:30pm.

So many of us have posted comments over and over this past week about this issue, but so far no one has posted if they will be attending tomorrow. I will be there, anyone planning to join me? We can sit here for several day's and post a blog, but you have to be seen as well. Come on folks, make your voice be heard!

zoes's picture
Submitted by zoes on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:40am.

I cannot attend the meeting on Saturday morning, but want the FCOBE and County to know what was in Spalding Countys paper today. They have NO concerns about Clayton County because they do not allow anyone who isn't a resident of Spalding to attend Spalding County schools. This whole Clayton County non-accredited schools issue is nothing to them. We need to do the same thing.

Article from The Griffin Daily News, March 28, 2008:

Clayton County woes won’t affect Griffin-Spalding Schools

Staff Writer
Posted: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:25 AM EDT

With the ongoing controversy surrounding the Clayton County School System and the recent decision by the National Accreditation Commission to revoke the school system’s accreditation Sept. 1 if it does not meet conditions set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, surrounding counties are wondering what will be the impact on their school systems if worse comes to worst.

For the Griffin-Spalding County School System, the answer is zero. There will be absolutely no impact.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Curtis Jones, there is a move afoot in the Georgia General Assembly to give Clayton students a voucher to attend other school systems if Clayton’s accreditation is actually revoked.
But, even with a voucher, none of Clayton’s 52,800 students will attend Griffin-Spalding County schools.

“We currently do not have a policy that says students from out of county can attend our schools,” Jones said Wednesday morning. “We do not allow tuition students to come from out of the county.”

If Clayton families move to Spalding County, that’s a different story, Jones said, because the students will then be county residents.

Submitted by Sick of Fascists on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:05pm.

Doesn't matter what your policy is Mr. Jones, if state law says you shall take those students!

Tug13's picture
Submitted by Tug13 on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:07pm.

Needs to learn from Spalding, and do their part. Don't sit back and expect parents to do everything.

My humble opinion.

Richard Hobbs's picture
Submitted by Richard Hobbs on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:10am.

But I have to agree that Eric Johnson is an idiot.

He's the same nut in the last general assembly who was doing his best to use the government's power of eminent domain to take property from citizens in order to build private businesses under the guise of raising taxes.

He needs to go back to Savannah or whereever he came from. He's an idiot.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:58am.

• Vouchers give choices to private schools, not parents—Private schools decide if they want to accept vouchers, and then how many students they want to admit. And even if a voucher student does gain acceptance into a private school, the school can later reject him or her for numerous reasons. Private schools to select parents and students instead of parents selecting schools as proponents typically claim will occur.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:57am.

• Vouchers waste taxpayer money—Vouchers force taxpayers to support two school systems: one public and one private. Existing private school students usually are eligible to receive vouchers, creating a new cost to taxpayers.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:55am.

• Vouchers leave behind many students, including those with the greatest needs—Vouchers leave behind many disadvantaged students because private schools may not accept them or do not offer the special services they need.

Submitted by AllKnowing on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:51pm.

Ronnie is trying to CYA, but it is too late. He is forever voting for something he does not read. Should he represent us? I think not.
Remember this when he runs for higher office (which is what he plans).

ptctaxpayer's picture
Submitted by ptctaxpayer on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 10:36am.

Don't let kids play with matches and don't let those that can't read pass legislation.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:53am.

• Vouchers are no way to raise student achievement for all—A GAO report to Congress on the Cleveland and Milwaukee voucher programs noted that the most credible research found “little or no difference in voucher and public school students’ performance.” The federal evaluation of the Washington, D.C. voucher experiment discovered the same.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:52am.

• Vouchers eliminate public accountability—In stark contrast to the strong requirements faced by public schools, private voucher schools do not have to meet NCLB standards including the hiring of “highly qualified” teachers, the NCLB testing requirements and Adequate Yearly Progress, nor do they have to accept all students. Existing voucher programs, from Florida to Cleveland to Milwaukee, have suffered from scandal and fraud due to the lack of public accountability inherent in these programs.

Main Stream's picture
Submitted by Main Stream on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 11:34am.

The 'public accountability' issue is so critcal and this is a great point in your post. So many of the 'private schools' down in the country and rural areas lack ANY accountability.

We have a dear friend who lives in rural Georgia and she was not about to send her son to a public school, as she had been brainwashed into thinking ALL public schools were 'of the devil' and would teach her son things like science and evolution (devils brew). So, her son went to elementary and middle school at a 'private school' which was actually in the home of a fellow church member.

By the time her son was ready for high school, HE demanded to go to a public school (Henry County) because he was bored and wanted more in the way of education and a normal social life. Sadly, because the 'accredited' private school had failed to provide him the basic foundation of a solid education in math, science and language arts, he struggled and almost failed. He graduated with a D average! He can't get into college now, no Hope Scholarship, and he's rebuilding car engines now, in Jonesboro.

Vouchers not only take funds away from public school systems, they can fail the children as well, by not holding private schools accountable.

maximus's picture
Submitted by maximus on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:18pm.

“Vouchers not only take funds away from public school systems, they can fail the children as well, by not holding private schools accountable.”

If you want to talk about accountability, start with the public school system. Your “friend's” kid who graduated with a D average and is working as a mechanic has done a lot better than about 30% of public school kids in Georgia who don’t graduate at all and end up making half as much as he will (or more likely, end up in prison).

What standard of accountability have the Clayton County public schools been held to? That’s an entire school system that is failing its students, parents, tax-payers, employers, and correctional institutions.

The lucky ones are the kids who are in private schools or are being home schooled.

Git Real's picture
Submitted by Git Real on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:57pm.

How dare you say anything negative about those publix schools. Don't you realize the failure rate of private schoolers? How about them low grades and poor academic skills. I was just a tellin' Mrs. Git last night as we were changing the tire on our double wide that perhaps we should bootleg our little Gitlets into Clayton County to soak up some that fine edumacations they are a offerin'. My understanding is they are offerin' and educamation not unlike where mrs. stream was reared. As for me and my families, we will shun those private shcool like Mrs. stream says we shoudl.

The Sissy And The Word Defined

maximus's picture
Submitted by maximus on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 1:32pm.

Bootlegin' the Gitlets to Clayton could be dangerous. They're very protective of their schools over there. Who can blame 'em? Such fine institutions of learnin'.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 9:51am.

Senator Chance, please do not Eric Johnson mislead you again. "Choice" is a word designed to trick you into supporting vouchers.

• Vouchers abandon public schools and drain away critical dollars—Vouchers divert attention, commitment and dollars from public schools to pay private school tuition for a few students, including many who already are in private school. Even proposals that purportedly create a new funding stream to pay for vouchers miss the mark: if new public money is available for education it should be invested in strengthening the schools that educate the vast majority of our students – our public schools. Annual proposals to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on private school tuition are especially misguided considering funding for crucial education programs remain drastically underfunded.

Submitted by AllKnowing on Fri, 03/28/2008 - 12:57pm.

We don't need this self serving so called "pretty boy" representing us. We need a real man or woman that cannot be misled. Chance needs to go. Qualifying is the end of April. Hope someone steps up to move him out. We all see thru your "town meeting". I heard you lied thru your teeth at the Commmissioners meeting last night, Ronnie. If you are that easily "tricked" as you said, I would not admit it in public. Your true colors are coming to light. Bye Bye

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