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Hayes questions school option

ALBANY, Ga. — During a Dougherty County Commission work session Monday morning, Commissioner John Hayes expressed “alarm” over a recent Albany Herald report on the Lee County School System’s plans to consider allowing children of active-duty military personnel at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to attend Lee schools.

“My concern is the message this sends,” Hayes said after the meeting. “This could be another black eye on our community. And while this issue certainly isn’t this body’s jurisdiction, if you’re talking about the school system in the county you’re talking about all of us.

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John Hayes

“We’re getting to a point where we could end up with a completely segregated school system.”

Lee County School System Superintendent Larry Walters said Monday the subject of allowing children of active-duty MCLB-Albany personnel to attend Lee schools was asked of a school board member by a parent on the base.

And while the question had been broached by the board in the past and rejected, Walters said a “feeling of patriotism that peaked with the death of Lance Cpl. Steve Sutton” led board members to reconsider the option.

“I’ve read some of the comments that people made about how corny that is, but the truth of the matter is that there is a great stirring of patriotism in our community,” the superintendent said. “When folks at the Marine base approached us about simply offering their children another school option, we sat down and talked about it.

“We’re not talking about a large number of students (112 total, according to MCLB-Albany officials), so we will discuss it further at our next board meeting (Sept. 10). If it is approved by the board, it would go into affect the next day.”

For active-duty parents who opt to move their students to the Lee County system, if the board approves the measure, Walters said there would be a tuition cost of $8.50 a day (or $1,504.50 for the entire school year) and no transportation would be provided.

“People have expressed a concern that if we give one group this option, others would come to us with the same request,” he said. “But this is a special case. The only other out-of-county group we allow to enroll students in our schools is our employees who have children. We will not be making exceptions for other groups.”

MCLB-Albany Public Affairs/Community Relations Specialist Pamela Green Jackson said in an email to The Herald that offering school options to active-duty military personnel with children is a common practice.

“It is becoming more common for military installations to have agreements with local schools to include those that already have Department of Defense schools on their bases,” she wrote. “Those that do not, have multiple educational options in their neighboring communities.

“We have a new commanding officer who wanted to ensure the military members who live on base have as many educational options as possible. Col. Don Davis is sensitive to the needs of military children because they move numerous times in their parents’ career. Their ability to plug into a school system that best fits their needs ... is crucial to their future.”

Dougherty Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard said he understood the action being considered by Lee County and MCLB-Albany to be “an option given to all active-duty military installations.”

“It’s my understanding that federal installations give the children of active-duty military personnel options on school choice if it’s worked out with the local school systems,” Sinyard said. “I think in that same (Herald) article John referred to, it noted that 50 of the base’s children are already attending school in Worth County free of charge.

“My biggest prayer and concern is that I want to see the Marines at that base happy and content.”

Dana Wallace, a civilian who serves as educational liaison on the base, said Sinyard’s assertion is correct.

“(Allowing for school options) is something that’s absolutely done at active-duty military installations across the country,” she said Monday. “I hope everyone understands that this is not a matter of ‘this school is better than that school.’ It’s a matter of providing options that are best for each individual family.”

Comments

JustAnotherVoice 1 year, 7 months ago

“We think this (Lee policy change) would be a great opportunity for our families who want choices in education,” Wallace said. “The cost is very reasonable and Lee is a very good school district.”

The "choice" is already available: The parent's have the CHOICE to live in the correct school zone. If they want their children to go to Lee County schools -- they should live in Lee County.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 7 months ago

These people are working and living on the base, idiot. Some do not have that choice.

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Spike 1 year, 7 months ago

The service members living on base don't have a choice. They get orders sending them to MCLB Albany and if base housing is available then they must live on base. Maybe they could move the base to Lee County?

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change_is_gonna_come 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes they do have a choice, they can move off base and apply for separate rations if they have a family, at least they did about 20 years ago.

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darnette0101 1 year, 7 months ago

They do not have to live on the base. They can actually choose to live of base and get an allowance for that. Yes it's easier and sometimes cheaper to live on the base, but it's their decision. I was a military brat and both of my children were in the military. My son chose to stay on base, but my daughter chose to live in town.

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MisterEd 1 year, 7 months ago

So Voice........how do you feel about the children of Lee County teachers that live out of county going to school in Lee County? Is that a problem with you as well? Not everybody thinks that Lee County is the best possible place for their family to live, for various reasons. Should people that live in Lee County be able to work in Albany?

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Cartman 1 year, 7 months ago

What business is it of Mr. Hayes or the Dougherty County Commission? Neither the MCLB nor the Lee County School System have any obligation to explain anything to him. You certainly can't blame the parents for wanting their children to get a decent education rather than attend a dysfunctional school system. So the short answer is: because they actually care about the education of their children.

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ObjectiveEyes 1 year, 7 months ago

What amazes me is that Mr. Hayes finds it necessary to even ask the question...

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chinaberry25 1 year, 7 months ago

It is not John Hayes' business. He is not even a DCSS board member. He is a nobody like the rest of us when it comes to this.

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 7 months ago

They will be better for it if they went to school in Lee Co. This should send a STRONG message to our School Board that no one wants to send their children to Do. Co. schools in the shape it is in. It's a disgrace!!!

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jglass 1 year, 7 months ago

I would think since they are housed in the base housing they would be able to pick any neighboring school district to attend.

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boyoboy 1 year, 7 months ago

Is Hayes really that big of a dumb a$$ to question this? What planet is he on?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

John Hayes is really a very good man but I have to go with you on this one.

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msa651 1 year, 7 months ago

What a dumb question by Mr. Hayes, given the choice of a poor school or a good school anyone that cares about their childs education would choose a good school.

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tywebb 1 year, 7 months ago

they are zoned for 3 terrible schools, BUT they have the chance to go to lincoln, robert cross, and whichever HS they want. If they were already zoned for lake park, merry acres, and westover would there be this consideration? who knows. i don't blame parents wanting the best for their kids, but i'm not sure worth co. schools are it. You know dcss is in bad shape when people are choosing worthless county of dcss!

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waltspecht 1 year, 7 months ago

I can remember when Dougherty County Schools started down the slippery slope. Long before Murfree. Parents were getting their children into the Private Schools, Riverview and the rest. If the parents couldn't afford it, the Grandparents picked up the tab. No, it wasn't just White flight, but concern over childrens safey, and what they were learning. I remember one friend sending his son to private school because he was getting beat up at Dougherty High on a weekly basis because he was White and the school Administration said he was provoking the fights. Funny, I knew the kid his whole life, and he wasn't that stupid, nor that prejudiced. I think that by the time he left, he might have been thinking of joining a Gang for protection, and had probably developed a prejudiced view point. At least in a gang, that would be one group that didn't beat on him.

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agirl_25 1 year, 7 months ago

When I was growing up in the 40's and 50's and my Dad was in the military and I lived in a large military/industrial area and when I stopped going to base schools and went to city schools they welcomed us with smiling faces because of something they got called "federal inpact funds". Later when I got married to a military man we lived in North Dakota and my children went to county schools (on the military base) that were staffed by teachers who worked for the city of Grand Forks, they too welcomed us with smiles....because of federal funds they received. I am talking big bucks too. They truly smiled because of the three Native American students who went to the school. I mean talk about grinning......man did they smile....they got a load of funding when those 3 kids showed up. Oh my, the tales I could tell you, for I was working at the school at the time and the things they would do for the federal funds!! Legal but funny. So is anyone in Lee County sporting a big grin?

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dingleberry 1 year, 7 months ago

Years ago, the feds paid big bucks in "impact funds" which are not paid anymore. There will be some federal funding attached to many of these kids because of what is considered "income" to the military. I think it is more of an "accommodation" to quell the unhappy base parents since money to Lee won't be anything special. No a patriotism issue as I see it but rather an indictment of DCSS--no need to go if schools were good.

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agirl_25 1 year, 7 months ago

Ohhhhh I see...I wondered...yeah when I was a military brat and when my kids were military brats there were a lot more bases too but not so many now and there were a lot more DOD schools too...the DOD schools were excellent. Even when my husband was overseas and I lived off base I would drive my kids to an on-base DOD school..they were superior to the city schools.....thanks for the info.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 7 months ago

According to the Lee Co. Ledge, most Lee Countians are against it. So do not start spouting off about what we want.

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VietVet1 1 year, 7 months ago

Mr. #34 what's your opinion on this?

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B4it 1 year, 7 months ago

"My concern is the message this sends," Hayes said. The message! Are you kidding me. Why are you not showing up at the School Board meetings and expressing your concerns about their disgusting leadership that would cause someone to even think about using another school district. Just like your failure to lower the County Budget, you fail to focus on what is causing the problems. Quit worrying about the message and offer solutions!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

Aint that the truth! Where have John Hayes and the other County Commissioners been? "This could be another black eye on our community." He sounds as if somebody just sprang the bad news of DCSS on him. Good for Lee County. Good for Worth County. Jeff Sinyard is right, make MCLB people happy. Send the word to the Pentagon. We want these families to be be satisfied. Very good education is available in Albany area at Lee County and Worth County public schools.

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dingleberry 1 year, 7 months ago

John, glad to see you woke up enough to see there is a problem. But I hate to tell you, many of the DCSS schools are virtually segregated now. In 2010, there were three elementary schools with one white child and Monroe HS with 10. The issue is not segregation, it is worthless schools with safety concerns. As a business leader, it would be nice to see you get involved in pushing for improvement in the schools rather than lamenting about segregation. Can't blame this one on "whitey" for a change.

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whattheheck 1 year, 7 months ago

As with Las Vegas, what goes on within the fences stays with1111in the fences. The level of discontent with schools is high among those stuck with the DCSS. And who in their right mind can blame the military parents? The post by B4it above is basically on the mark and disgusting is also a good descriptor for the whole system, not just the leadership.

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VSU 1 year, 7 months ago

The message is clear! They don't want their children going to the DCSS and I don't blame them.

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Spike 1 year, 7 months ago

"We're getting to a point where we could end up with a completely segregated school system."

What does this decision have to do with segregation? The base is the most integrated organization in SWGA. This comment is absurd. How on earth could he turn it into a "segregation" issue?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

And, get ready for this . . . . . the DCSS is probably more segregated racially than the local NAACP chapter. TAH DAAA! Come on John Hayes, you know better than you're letting on. You are really a sharp guy and do not exist in a fog.

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mr_nobody 1 year, 7 months ago

Mr. Hayes, feel free to quote Mr_Nobody. We moved from Dougherty to Lee County, and we are white. Two reasons at the top of the list (both equally at #1) are the schools and taxes.

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whattheheck 1 year, 7 months ago

And these may have been the reasons others also leave, Carlton. Right?

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beartrap 1 year, 7 months ago

typical jesse jackson/al sharpton response....looking for racism instead of addressing the problem of why there is racism.....

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carbonrob 1 year, 7 months ago

As a long time resident of Lee County and a former "military brat", I would welcome with open arms the military kids attending our schools. Most military kids are well mannered and actually want to learn. I believe they would be an asset to our school system. Most folks I've spoken with in Lee County aren't against this either.

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whattheheck 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think anyone has a problem with the kids. The problem is with the politicians and local business/civic leaders not admitting that DCSS is a great big problem--and not willing to address those problems.

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Mari 1 year, 7 months ago

So, Carlton has attended another City Commission meeting and again is totally failing to delve into and report airport commission appointment debacle. Why does media prefer to keep this travesty of public policy under secrecy?

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

One uproar at a time please?

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Amazed2 1 year, 7 months ago

Shhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! Mr Hayes lets no tell anyone about the DCSS!!!!! Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

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LikeItIs 1 year, 7 months ago

"completely segregated school system"????????? Mr. Hayes, I know you must be reading thru these statements. I'll refrain from any of the obvious comments, but I would truly and sincerely like to hear how the loss of a racially mixed group of students (a mix which is an excellent cross section of this country) would in any way shape, or form contribute to "segregation". This has to do and ONLY to do with the pathetic state of DCSS. Dragging race into this is at best disingenuous, and at worst absolutely disgusting. You have a group of dedicated parents who are aghast at the utter nonsense coming from your organization. Use of the race card here is totally unfounded. PLEASE Sir enlighten us!!!

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 7 months ago

Hayes “My concern is the message this sends”........ Military families “ We are concerned with the kind of messages DCSS sends to our kids, because we believe in honor, morals, and "WE" have the desire and motivation to be OUR Best and want the SAME for our kids.” Yep that message is another “Black eye” for the DCSS leadership who believe lying, cheating and stealing is no big thing, just another way to skate by in life without trying.

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