Fannin County opts to remain a Charter School District

Community, News, Rebel's Corner

Blue Ridge, Ga. – The Fannin County Board of Education (BOE) voted unanimously for the Fannin County School System to remain a charter school district.

Fannin County schools officially became a charter school system July, 01, 2015. According to the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE), a charter district must renew their intent and contract with the state every five years.

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Deputy Superintendent Betsy Hyde spoke with the BOE on what it means to remain a charter district.

Deputy Superintendent Betsy Hyde spoke to the BOE, “They (GDOE) asked us if we would amend our charter and say that we would review in 4 years.”

Upon Fannin County looking to obtain AdvancedED accreditation, the Georgia Department of Education asked administration to review their charter application a year early.

AdvancED is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of schools and school systems. Every five years a school system must participate in a targeted self-reflection process.

The AdvancedED helps to evaluate purpose and direction, governance and leadership, teaching and assessing for learning, resources and support systems, as well as engagement with stakeholders.

The charter renewal as well as the AdvancedEd accreditation are expected to have coinciding site visits to Fannin County Schools.

Hyde explained that during 2015, when Fannin County officially entered into the charter system, the state of Georgia offered three flexibility options for districts to pick from.

The first of these options was Status Quo. Under this option the school system would not be allowed waivers and have limited flexibility on the local level to customize the school learning environment.

The second option presented was the IE2/Strategic Waiver. This gave districts the ability to ask for specific waivers, but did not allow for School Governance Teams (SGT) to be established.

Lastly school systems had the option of becoming a charter district. This option did not restrict waivers and required the formation of SGT. With this option Fannin County would be provided more flexibility in exchange for maintaining at or above state levels in reviews.

“One of the things that we do in our system is we had to have waivers for instance to do block scheduling, class size, different things like that,” Hyde said explaining the benefits of being a charter district.

The decision to initially become a charter school system was not one that was taken lightly, Hyde explained that countless hours of research went into the decision, including speaking with other charter systems and visiting different districts.

Some of the advantages to being a charter district include flexibility to innovate educational opportunities, financial savings from waivers, and possible additional funding in Quality Basic Education (QBE) if appropriated.

One of the outstanding characteristics is the creation of SGT within each of the Fannin County schools. The first SGT was established in June of 2015. These teams, comprised of 7 members, each meet on a regular basis and include school system faculty as well as parents.

Hyde explained the role of SGT more in depth,”Student Government Teams kind of help us distribute our leadership instead of you all being the only board in the whole system. You all are still over the whole system, but this gives some government back to the schools.”

BOE Chair Lewis Deweese admitted to being skeptical of the formation of SGT in the beginning but said of his feelings now, “I think what we’ve really created are some advocates for public education.”

Before taking vote, board member Terry Bramlett questioned, “Whenever we chose to become a charter system it seemed to be the fairer choice of offering the most flexible options and the greatest opportunity for our students. Would you agree that that’s still the case?”

Hyde replied that she still felt very strongly that being a charter system is the best option for Fannin County and added that it also allows the school system a wider range of options as future needs within the district arise.

The BOE took the first step in renewing its contract to stay a charter district by passing a resolution updating their procedures. While there are still many steps to take before this renewal is official, administration is confident in their choice and ability to continue with charter district status.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

David Ralston shares his opinion on the 2018 Election

Election 2018

Blue Ridge, Ga. – Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston spoke to Fannin County residents at the monthly Republican Party meeting. Ralston gave citizens an update on happenings at the Georgia capital and didn’t shy away from sharing his opinion of the upcoming Republican runoff and the Nov. General Election.

“Ain’t nobody going to know who I voted for,” Ralston said expanding on his opinion over recent endorsements of the two Georgia gubernatorial Republican candidates, “because I want to help bring about…we’re going to need some healing as a party.”

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Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston updated residents of Fannin County about happenings in the state capital.

Ralston spoke of the the tough campaign that many in his party have faced and are still facing. He spoke specifically of the gubernatorial race between Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp: “It’s been kind of…actually kind of nasty.”

Georgia Republicans have a good message according to Ralston and need to refocus on getting out and sharing that message. He would like to see his party “stand together and stand united”.

“It is well funded. It is organized. It is energized. It is unified,” Ralston said of the Democratic Party that is being faced this year, adding, “It’s also more liberal than it was when it was in power last time.”

With redistricting expected to come after 2020, Ralston stressed the importance of coming together as a party in all upcoming elections.

Ralston spoke of his recent trip to Washington D.C. where he was invited to take part in President Donald J. Trump’s Infrastructure Advisory Council. The small group of state representatives spent time talking about issues in their state and met with Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson.

“This is a welcome relief that we now have an administration that really does want to hear from us,” Ralston said of his time in our nation’s capital, “and that believes that power comes from the bottom up. Rather than from the top down.”

As far as the work of the last General Assembly in Georgia, Ralston said, “I think that we have had a great session. It is one that I am very, very proud of.”

Among the accomplishments listed by Ralston, the general session achieved fully funding the QBE (Quality Basic Education) which will bring an additional $273,000 to Fannin County Public Schools. The Fannin County School System will also receive $44,000 to put towards added security of school campuses.

Taxes were cut from 6 percent to 5.75 percent with a trigger to drop to 5.5 percent in 2019. Ralston stated that this was the first time income taxes were cut since its institution in Georgia.

“We managed to do that while keeping our budget balanced and maintaining a AAA bond rating,” Ralston added of the recent financial amendments in the state.

Fannin County will also soon see a stand alone campus for the University of North Georgia (UNG). This comes with the state pledging $5.5 million for its construction.

Ralston notes this as a “game changer” for Fannin County. According to Ralston not only will this strengthen ties with UNG in our area but also provide educational opportunities including dual enrollment for local high school students.

Finally Ralston spoke of legislation passed that will allow for “micro hospitals”. These small-scale hospitals will offer acute-care and emergency services as well as short term inpatient care. Facilities such as these typically only house 8 – 15 beds and because of lower overhead are less expensive to operate.

“The first such facility in the state is located just down the road in Ellijay,” Ralston spoke of Piedmont Mountainside Hospital Outpatient Center.
“I have to say, to receive 75 percent of the vote in the district was humbling and beyond our expectations,” Ralston acknowledged his own campaign and the outcome of the May Republican Primary. “It is a real honor to represent this county in the House of Representatives. More than that though I am blessed to call this place home.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Fannin County Schools to receive additional state funding

News, Rebel's Corner

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Fannin County School System will see a boost in funding as state lawmakers have voted to fully fund Georgia’s Quality Basic Education Act (QBE).

QBE was adopted unanimously by both houses of the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Joe Frank Harris in 1985. The purpose of the QBE earnings are to provide an equal and adequate education for all public schools in the state of Georgia.

Georgia's Quality Basic Education Act, QBE, Governor, Nathan Deal, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, David Ralston, Fannin County School System, Gilmer County School System, Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia

Ralston spoke with BKP about the now fully funded QBE in Georgia.

QBE works by providing additional funding to public schools in counties that do not have the a large income from property taxes.

State Funding Made Simple describes the process as “Because all counties are not created equal in terms of property tax wealth, they cannot raise the same amounts of money from local property taxes. The state provides additional funding to these counties according to a formula that compares the relative property tax wealth of all counties in the state. Systems at or below the 75% level can receive equalization funding in proportion to the amount of mills they levy beyond 5 mills.”

Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives David Ralston spoke with BKP (Brian K. Pritchard) on his morning show Anything Goes about the accomplishments made in the past legislative session.

“For the first time in 16 years at least, we have fully funded QBE,” Ralston explained, “Which means that all of the austerity cuts to local school systems that started back in the middle of the Perdue administration and have continued forward because of the economy and other reasons, they’re now over.”

Economy did play a major part in the original cuts, and Georgia’s strengthening economy is reason for this full funding.

According to Governor Nathan Deal next year’s projected state revenue has increased by $194 million. This increase brings the FY 2019 state revenue estimate to $26.2 billion.

Because of this increase Deal is allocating an additional $167 million to K-12 education.

“Georgia’s strong economic growth in recent years has allowed us to invest heavily in education, transportation, public safety and healthcare,” says Deal.

“It’s going to mean about $375,000 right off the bat to Gilmer County,” Ralston said explaining the benefits to our area. “It’s going to mean about $285,000 right off the bat to Fannin County schools.”

School systems are allowed to use this funding in a number of areas to help maintain a basic standard of education for all Georgia public school students.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at advertise@FetchYourNews.com

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Natalie Kissel

Natalie@FetchYourNews.com

Henson Opposes Charter Amendment

Featured Stories, News

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BOE Passes Budget for FY13

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The Fannin Board of Education passed its FY13 budget this week during a special called meeting. (more…)

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