SB 458 is dead

Fri, 04/04/2008 - 11:11pm
By: Ben Nelms

The only thing left to do for the mass of Fayette County residents who flooded Gov. Sonny Perdue and the General Assembly with opposition to Senate Bill (SB) 458 is to pick out the casket and order the flowers. SB 458 is dead.

“I am pleased to report Senate Bill 458 has died on the last day of the General Assembly Session without receiving any further consideration,” said Rep. Matt Ramsey. “This ill conceived legislation has been defeated. Its supporters could never make the case that the bill addressed the problem it sought to address. In the end, the supporters realized there was not sufficient support to bring it forward.”

SB 458 had been the focus of tens of thousands of Fayette County phone calls and emails to Gov. Perdue and legislators over concerns that the bill would potentially open the door for Clayton County students, whose school system might lose accreditation in September, to transfer to public schools in Fayette and other counties.

In that event, Fayette School Board members, along with thousands of parents and taxpayers said it would affect myriad issues such as classroom overcrowding and would force local taxpayers to foot the bill for approximately 50 percent of their education.

The controversy over SB 458 escalated exponentially after language in the bill was changed from students “may attend” other school districts to “shall attend” and was later changed again to “may attend.”

SB 458 made it to the House floor at 9:43 p.m., where it was recommitted to the Rules Committee. The bill left the Rules Committee later in the evening but did not make it back to the floor for consideration.

Commenting after the House adjourned, Sen. Ronnie Chance said the language pertaining to transfers to out of county public school systems had been successfully removed from the bill.

“We worked real hard to kill the bill and I’m pleased that we were able to do it,” Chance said.

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Submitted by faux_paws on Tue, 04/08/2008 - 11:42am.

you guys obviously know what you're talking
about and you generally express yourselves
in very high minded ways (DUH!) would
seem that since you have perfect solutions
for everything, you wouldn't mind running
for public office. the fact is that it's
easier to complain and to act all indignant
that someone can't agree with your point
of view than it is to catalyze change.

fayette county students might perform better
than the "average" student in the u.s., but
what does that even mean?i don't feel as if
i walk through peachtree city thinking
"yes, i am surrounded by incredibly
intelligent people!" i instead
focus on their vapidity and conspicuous
consumption. point is, everyone feels smarter
than everyone else. problem is, everyone's
wrong (except republicans, of course).

the problem in the school case is the same
problem that you see nationally. people want
certain conveniences (roads, schools, wars)
but they don't want to pay a dime for it. if
we know that more education equals less crime,
then would it not behoove everyone surrounding
clayton to help out? it would benefit society,
but the problem is that since it doesn't immediately
benefit you the tax paying individual then it
must not be good at all. don't act as though
those of us in fayette county just have better
breeding and that clayton students are savages.
we just don't want "that element" in our schools,
they might taint our children. what if somehow
fayette county schools were shutting down? you would
try every thing you could to get your children's
education taken care of. so in your time of need
you probably wouldn't see the problem with's
just a big "i gotta get mine" mentality.

poipendicular's picture
Submitted by poipendicular on Tue, 04/08/2008 - 12:27pm.

Clayton county residents pay their taxes, they chose their school board, and raise their kids. Fayette residents pay their taxes chose their school board, and raise their kids. There has been and will always be those that choose the wrong path. Doesn't matter where they come from or live. Clayton residents made their bed by choosing those board members. Fayette residents have problems with their board also. The majority of Clayton chose their elected officials, they chose the wrong people. If Fayette were to absorb their students, do we get a say in how their money is spent? Would our county be allowed to raise their property taxes to the equalize the amount our county spends on students? Is it the same amount across the board? Besides education costs there is an increased strain on infrastructure. Roads would see increased usage, traffic increased, and more police presence would be needed, for local and non residents to keep the traffic flowing. Clayton needs to keep their taxes to correct or repair their infrastructure. Each county has it's own community pride. Does Clayton want the reputation of asking for handouts, or state intervention? I'm sure not the case. If so they would have asked to be absorbed in by Fayette, Fulton or Henry counties. This is not a case of old Milton county being absorbed by Fulton, and the residents calling themselves Upper Fulton county. This is a case of Clayton choosing the wrong people, and the fight they must make to change how they run their schools, and increase community pride to make positive changes. Fayette has their own problems, it may not be in the education dept, but in other sectors. As a nation we want our children to be the brightest, full of high achievers creating a positive influence upon the global economy. For now, each family, neighborhood, city, county, and state must work within themselves to create a better future. Clayton should strive to be a positive force, just as Fayette needs to do the same. We cannot forget what is going on in our homes to help others. I taught my child to read at an early age. He entered kindergarten reading at a third grade level, he had basic concepts of finance down. I willingly volunteered at the library, preschool, and church to help other children to enjoy reading. In the process of doing all this, I had to make sure my family never suffered from lack of attention. Hillary's 'It takes a village to raise a child' and Bush's 'No child left behind' have positive images, but at what cost? Our own families? Our own schools? Why should those that worked at changing the world forget who stands in front of them? Their own children.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 7:42pm.


Submitted by Spyglass on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 11:44am.

Cal and others on here complained heavily about Ramsey and others doing NOTHING to help us. I say bunk, they listened and stopped this legislation.

Submitted by Missy-Sippy on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 12:47pm.

I know Ronnie for many years. Him & Eric grew up together. They just want a good job in the government. Ronnie never wanted to do wrong. Besides all you critizing people ought to just drive up to the captal, knock on Ronnie's door and explain to him just what you do want. Ronnie's busy, he ain't got time to go round asking all ya'll what you want. Ya'll want too much anyhow. Best ya'll mind yo own business and let Ronnie take care of govment matters.

LivedHereForever's picture
Submitted by LivedHereForever on Sun, 04/06/2008 - 10:25pm.

It looks like you went to one of those Clayton County government schools.

Submitted by Missy-Sippy on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 9:04am.

Rumor has it that Senator Chance is working on a new bill to solve Clayton's school problem and the housing recession. Chance proposes special home financing in which Clayton residents can buy foreclosed Fayette homes with nothing down and no employment verification with mortgage payments, subsidized by a small increase in Fayette property taxes. Claytonites can then move to Fayette and are eligible to attend Fayette schools at no cost to them. Clayton transferees are already selecting candidates to run for the Fayette School Board. You can't out-smart these govment people.

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 7:23am.

deja vu all over again. This sounds vaguely like deja vu all over again. Keep the faith, keep the faith.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

tortugaocho's picture
Submitted by tortugaocho on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 4:59am.

Funeral Services to be announced: St. Cal presiding. Family unknown because the parents of the deceased will not claim it. Even local Demo pol CJ Mowell wouldn't take the body.

Next project: TDK. Maybe if they fly a little lower under the radar they can get the East Coweta Fantasy Road Bonanza past us for Mitch, Eric, Lynn and the gang.

zoes's picture
Submitted by zoes on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 4:58am.

Now we (FCBOE and Fayette Citizens) just need to know the process for keeping non-approved students out of our schools. From what I've read, there doesn't seem to be any way to verify a students' residence and act on those that shouldn't be here. I would love to see a true heavy hand, especially in light of the accreditation issue, on this particular crime.

Submitted by BILLUPSTAWANA@B... on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 8:34pm.

What happened to help those neighbors who need it? I don’t think that God would be very please with the way you are behaving. Besides, let’s look at the facts here. Georgia is ranked in the bottom 3 in education in the country. So do you, Fayette County, consider yourselves as the best of the worst? If you ask me that is nothing to be proud of. That is just like being the MPV on the worst team in the league. Please people.... get it together. Everyone is in the pursuit of the same thing.... a good education for our children. We are not focusing on the facts. For instance, it is a fact that our children are on the average 4 grades behind the leading states in Math. The same math that Fayette County students study in their senior year has already been studied in middle school in the leading states. By the time the leading states’ students reach their high school year they are already studying college level Calculus and Physics. Therefore, it is so great to be the best at what the rest of the country considers remedial. Fayette County the best of all the dummies!!!!!! Here you are showing your arrogance by saying that parents deserve to be jailed for trying to provide their children with a decent education… Who died and made you king? The last time I checked most of the funds for education come from the State not the County. Oh yeah! And we all live in the same state…. Go figure

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 9:51pm.

First off, get some education on how schools are actually funded. I'll give you a's NOT all from the state! DUH.

Secondly, the reason people are proud of Fayette County schools is how the students rank NATIONALLY, not in GA. They on average are ranked higher in SAT scores than the average USA student. It matters not at all how the state itself is lowly-ranked when the students are outperforming nationally. DUH.

Third, and this will be the last free knowledge shared with you as you seem to be too lazy to be anything more than woefully ignorant of facts, no one had to die and be appointed king as far as jailing parents who illegally enroll their children in's already a LAW and that is the potential punishment. DUH.

hutch866's picture
Submitted by hutch866 on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 9:14pm.

You best be checking again because the state only pays about half of our kids education. It's an MVP not MPV, it's also better to be the best of the worst, then worst of the worst like Clayton. I have no problem with the Clayton kids getting a good education, I do have a problem with paying for their education. If they want Fayette to educate their lids move to Fayette is that so hard to grasp. Oh yeah, where do you think the state gets it money for education but us taxpayers. Go figure yourself.

I yam what I yam....Popeye

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 12:13pm.

Submitted by wheeljc on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 7:11am.

At the Town Hall meeting on Saturday, March 29, think that Ms. Smola from the FBOE indicated that turning in tag numbers was essentially a waste of time since that would be a 'violation of privacy' if Fayette County law enforcement were to pursue these individuals. It may just be 'TOO HARD' for FBOE. One of these days, think we will all come to realize that YOU CANNOT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS! Hope the FBOE understand that as well! Think that a growing number of Fayette taxpayers understand it totally!!!!!

MajorMike's picture
Submitted by MajorMike on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 10:16am.

School board member Janet Smola is out in left field on a number of issues. First of all "Theft of Services", is a crime. Given that the amount per instance is approximately $8000, I would guess that would be in the felony range rather than a simple misdemeanor. That alone would legally justify involvement of the Fayette County Sheriff's Office. By extremely conservative estimates there are still 300+ out of county students attending Fayette County schools. Simple math indicates that $2.4 million would hire a number of full time staff members and/or full time private investigators and still realize LARGE savings from enforcement of current laws governing this. Additional monies could be recovered by legal action against the offending parent(s). Could it possibly be that savings / recoveries would easily justify a full time attorney assigned to this task too? Criminey folks, we have Fayette citizens volunteering to help!

Secondly, knowing what vehicles are on school property is simply a security issue, and, very possibly a Homeland Security issue. "Violation of privacy" my aunt rosy. Could there possibly be additional funding from the DHS?

I know of locations where lines of Clayton County vehicles unload children every morning to wait for the school bus. I watch them unloading at different places on Glynn Street (GA 85) and walking around businesses to get to FCHS. They no longer unload behind Captain D's after that location was identified in these blogs. With deaccreditation looming for Clayton County schools, the situation is NOT going to improve without some form of aggressive action.

I personally believe that the fear of the almighty race card being played is what's maintaining the status quo (if not that, then what?). Get over it Fayette County School Board and DO YOUR JOB!

sdg's picture
Submitted by sdg on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 3:00pm.

about the personal use of the school's copy machine for her political purposes if she's really worried about "theft of services."

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 7:33pm.

What are you talking about?

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 11:05am.

I've been to a few board meetings. You should visit a few if you want to see who is out left field.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 10:31am.

There is no such thing as a "right to privacy" anywhere in law, whether people wish there were or not. If she is truly worried about somehow "violating someone's privacy," why does the BOE require a utility bill to prove residency and why hasn't she been very outspoken against that practice?

It's a really lame excuse for simply not putting forth an effort. It's your typical arrogance that comes up every now and then in Fayette from the school board. Some simply think you can ignore everyone's repeated wishes and then not explain WHY they are being ignored. Some BS about "violating privacy" is the kind of logic that a teacher would say is extremely weak and unconvincing if a student uttered such nonsense.

Submitted by CitizenBlogger on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 10:59am.

Did you listen to audio of the meeting? Were you there?

Law enforcement won't run tag numbers for the school system because it violates the person's privacy. Law enforcement only runs the tags if a crime is witnessed. They won't run them because a citizen suspects they are enrolled in school illegally. That's why its futile for school personnel or private citizens to take down tag numbers and turn them in for investigation. If you can give school personnel the name of the student suspected of coming out of that car, they'll investigate that student.

This has been explained repeatedly in meetings and in the press and has no arrogance. If it were that easy, they'd be doing it everyday.

Call the police department and ask them to run a tag if you don't believe.

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 5:31pm.

The police won't run a tag not because it's some kind of mythical "violation of privacy;" they won't run it because by GA law you can only run license tags for certain specific reasons and only people who are certified to access the GCIC system in GA can do it. Most police officers themselves aren't certified to run tags; it's done by 911 dispatchers when a police officer radios them.

Also, a crime does NOT have to be witnessed to have a tag run either. I don't who said that, but it's completely inaccurate. Any type of "suspicion" like your car being in a business's parking lot and the business being closed is enough of a "reason" for your tag to be run, despite no evidence that a crime has been committed or suspected. The county tag office can also run your tag for reasons totally unrelated to crime.

I wrote a solution to the issue a few posts below yours earlier. You do not have to actually run the tag to solve the problem.

Submitted by wheeljc on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 11:40am.

This is not a new issue, and has been on-going for a number of years. What is the FBOE doing to preclude 'theft by taking' (attending a school district where you do not reside, and absorbing tax money from others, when you did not pay)? If we recall, there were a lot of promises by the FBOE and Superintendent's office years ago that this was going to be cleaned up, and it appears THAT IT WASN'T. What actions -- specific actions -- has the FBOE taken to preclude those not authorized in the Fayette County School system TO BE IDENTIFIED AND REMOVED? Folks, are we going to end up with a 'mini SB 458' through our own doing?? HAS THE FBOE TALKED WITH FAYETTE LAW ENFORCEMENT TO DEVELOP A FEASIBLE PLAN? IF NOT, WHY NOT?? Understand that folks are great with excuses and 'why things cannot be done' (silvered tongue wizards) --- the question is: WHAT IS BEING DONE TO CORRECT THE CURRENT PROBLEM, AND WHAT SPECIFIC PLANS ARE BEING DEVELOPED BY THE FBOE TO PRECLUDE A DELUGE IN SEPTEMBER 2008??

NUK_1's picture
Submitted by NUK_1 on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 7:35am.

About every college makes their students obtain parking passes that are tied to a form that has their name, make/model of car and LICENSE PLATE,etc and entered into a database. The schools could require the same kind of registration for parents and their vehicles that are used to take/pick-up their kids.

Yeah, it would be more work for the school system to have to maintain a database of all vehicles and how they are connected with the student(parent,friend, relative, etc.), but it could work. Then an observant parent can call the BOE with a tag number and the BOE can see if the tag matches anything in their database. This eliminates the need to call the police to "investigate" every reported potential violator and wasting cops' time. It also provides a method for "clearing" those who may be getting picked up or dropped off by an out of county divorced parent or relative who are now automatically assumed to be "guilty" because their tag is from another county.
Considering the cost in terms of dollars for educating a student in Fayette, the extra work generated from this would be more than offset by the money saved by kicking out students who are enrolled in violation of the law. After a few of the parents are prosecuted under the existing law, you'd see a quick reduction in people attempting to violate this law.

It's not a perfect solution by any means, but it could work. If Clayton loses their accreditation, you can bet that many are going to try and circumvent the law and if the already barely competent BOE isn't prepared, it will be the usual cluster that the BOE is known for.

River's picture
Submitted by River on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 8:05am.

I was just about to reply to wheeljc that it is totally impractical for the school resource officer to stand out in the parking lot and take down licence numbers as cars come by. Maybe that's not exactly what wheeljc had in mind, but that's what it sounded like. The resource officer and other FCBOE employees all have important things to do at those times, so that is totally impractical. You could use booster-club parents, but that still ends up with a lot of tag numbers that are not really proof of anything. You can't really prove that student "A" stepped out of car "B" and therefore student "A" is from county "C". (AKA Clayton Co.)

In any event, each school has hundreds of students, so if you end up with a couple of hundred licence tags to track down per school, that's a pretty massive undertaking. Especially since a large percentage of these tags will probably turn out to be an out of county divorced parent, or similar situation, as you pointed out. Much more practical is to make it part of the registration process. A lot of kids over 16 have their own car, and these cars are already registered. We could also require parents to register their cars, as well as show proof of residency.

Personally, I think the "proof of residency" is the main tool we should be using. We are already requiring that, but perhaps we can tighten up that program, especially in light of the expected onslaught of students from Clayton County. That would be far more preferable than jotting down tag numbers in the mornings.

Submitted by oldbeachbear on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 6:22am.

and don't/won't do anything about it. It is simple. If you live in Clayton or Fulton, you have a license plate from that county just like we do for Fayette. All these schools have a sheriff dept or police office working there. They could stand out there and get the Clayton and Fulton tags and run the plates. I've still never heard what happened with the Clayton county woman's kids who were going to White Water. Remember the 'driving while Black' deal? She was complaining and gonna sue cause the police were stopping her kids? It turned out she lives in Clayton county and her kids go to White Water. What do you want to bet nothing was ever done about that?

Submitted by heatjam on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 8:44am.

Some of the special tags (wildlife...) don't have the county name on them.

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