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BOE considers MCLB charter school

Dougherty County School Board member Robert Youngblood, right, and Interim Superintendent Butch Mosley chat prior to Monday’s school board meeting. Youngblood wants the DCSS to look into seeing if there is interest in setting up a  charter school for the children of Marines and base employees at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.

Dougherty County School Board member Robert Youngblood, right, and Interim Superintendent Butch Mosley chat prior to Monday’s school board meeting. Youngblood wants the DCSS to look into seeing if there is interest in setting up a charter school for the children of Marines and base employees at Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Dougherty County School Board member Robert Youngblood proposed on Monday that the district enter into discussions with Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to explore the possibility of creating a K-thru-8 charter for the children of Marines and base employees.

Youngblood's motion to form an ad hoc committee to begin exploratory discussions passed the board on a 5-0 vote, with Darrel Ealum and James Bush abstaining.

"I know we are in the midst of possible school consolidation, closings and rezoning," Youngblood said. "But school systems are very important to military families, and I think a charter school with the Marine Base would be of benefit to the community, especially during the next round of BRAC (base realignment and closing committee) hearings."

Youngblood said his plan was based on the perception that the DCSS is not currently meeting the needs of the base's school age children.

"Timing is everything, especially right now," Bush said after the meeting.

Youngblood said the system is currently losing base students to Worth County, Lee County, Baconton Charter and homeschooling.

"This charter would be in collaboration with the base and the parents could pick the board of directors who would then hire the teachers they wanted," Youngblood said. "I'd like to see if there is interest in a K-thru-8 charter school and if the people on the base would support it. It would be predicated on FTE (full time equivalent) money and see if we can recoup some of that money we are losing to other counties.

"I'd like to see if the base is interested."

FTE money is paid by the state to a school district on a per student basis. According to DCSS Executive Director of Finance and Operations Ken Dyer, the state is currently paying the district an average of more than $3,800 per year per pupil.

Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely was generally in favor of Youngblood's proposal but added, "first we have to have a product that they'd want to come back to."

The next meeting of the school board is set for Feb. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at West Town Elementary School.

Comments

whattheheck 1 year, 5 months ago

You have got to be kidding! There is no way this could pay for itself. Put your wallet in the front pocket, quick.

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dingleberry 1 year, 5 months ago

"But school systems are very important to military families, and I think a charter school with the Marine Base would be of benefit to the community, especially during the next round of BRAC (base realignment and closing committee) hearings."

Right you are, Robert! And schools are also important to those who won't get a shot at the "special school". What you are indirectly saying is what many are saying: DCSS schools are inadequate. If not, you would not propose this solution.? What about a school Phoebe folks can send their kids to? Heck, what about a school anyone can feel confident sending children to? This is an indictment of the DCSS system which needs to solve its problems rather than pursue work around measures!

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FryarTuk 1 year, 5 months ago

Frankly, I never was convinced that Mr. Youngblood's achievement of becoming a principal in Dougherty County School System was anything to brag about. I am certainly more suspicious now that it is not. We are up to our arses in alligators and these 5 want to go bear hunting in Canada. Please shelve that idea or shove it into a dark orifice. $3800 per child and they want to create another institutional setting? Good gracious, just bus them to Lee County that should impress BRAC. DCSS does not know how to organize schools, testing programs, curriculum, fiscal operations, faculty, special services, food services, lawn maintenance and its Step N Fetch It police department. How in the world do they think we have the capactiy (or competence) to impress BRAC with a hastily devised educational program. The Marine Corps LB is obviously convinced we don't and the fact is we don't. The GA DOE knows it, the taxpayers know it and DOD knows it. So the secret is out. Let's tend to our knitting. Stay the course. Clean up the mess and then maybe we'll all have decent schools.

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whattheheck 1 year, 5 months ago

As I recall from earlier articles, there are only 100 children of on-base military involved in all grades through 12 so in reality DCSS isn't chasing dollars as much as it is admitting the schools suck. It's not just the Marines who have known that for many years. The high level visit a few months ago by the Marine general must not have had the selling power the DCSS hope for or we would not be back in the trenches with this one so soon. But in all fairness, the base will have BRAC problems, if a real look-see is done, regardless of the DCSS mess--the mission vs cost just isn't there.

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TRUTH101 1 year, 5 months ago

Sooooooo..... The people that pay taxes in Albany will have to pay for what is basically a private school education for the Military Brats......SMH......If this charter school is not open to ALL Dougherty County students, it is illegal......but you guys voted yes to charter schools....

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LikeItIs 1 year, 5 months ago

Re-read the article. DOD pays DCSS $3800/pupil. I am curious about one thing. Many of the military families live "on the economy" and pay taxes either as homeowners or indirectly thru rent. Does DCSS get $3800 for those students also? If they do, it sounds like a fairly lucrative "double dip". As a "Military Brat" I can attest to the rigors of being uprooted every 2-3 years. Being plopped into a dysfunctional situation like DCSS is clearly not optimal. Our service members put up with a lot. Sub-standard education for their children based on where they are stationed should not be something they have to deal with. DCSS clearly feels the pain of losing this payment due to students attending other districts, otherwise why would they bother with a proposal such as this?

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whattheheck 1 year, 5 months ago

Of course DCSS gets the FTE money for off base military children residing in DoCo--except those who are private or home schooled. But the source is the state, not DOD so there isn't a "double dip". And while I agree military dependents should not have to fight for survival in the halls of DCSS schools, other children should not have to either. That the point, fix the whole mess for all children not just the military children.

Let's also be fair and mention that the military living in off base housing get a housing allowance to do so which means the taxes going into the DCSS (rent or own) are not coming "out of pocket". Further, when the children of those same parents go to private school or are home schooled, DCSS still gets the money and yet provides nothing concerning their education.

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LikeItIs 1 year, 5 months ago

I guess I need to re-read the article myself. Mea culpa. The FTE does come only from the state. What sort of compensation does DOD provide to DCSS for students from the base? 100 students would seem to be far short of the critical mass needed to justify another school.

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whattheheck 1 year, 5 months ago

"***explore the possibility of creating a K-thru-8 charter for the children of Marines and base employees."

The partial sentence above is what expands the critical mass--children of base civilian employees, Rather an exclusive target group would you say? If those kids are already in public schools in the county, DCSS already gets the FTE money. The only possible gain would be those brought back into the fold from private and home school.

Years ago, school systems received "impact funds" from DOD but by the early 1980s that program had pretty much gone away and by now is likely totally gone.

I hope not much time is wasted on this idea which won't fly as far as the Wright Brothers first effort. It is DOA and to me is indicative of the culture on continuing ineptitude on the part of the BOE.

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eanc41 1 year, 5 months ago

NO! The DOD can authorize the opening of the school on federal property AND they can say who goes and who does not! And, yes, the amendment passed, so get over it!

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Tonto 1 year, 5 months ago

A key thing in the article, the base has not asked for this. Parents on base are making education decisions based on availability as I am sure any parent would, and since other counties with more successful or safer programs are available they use them as an individual family decision even if it means money out of their pocket. Bringing up the "BRAC" word is a scare tactic to make folks jump. We are in the process of returning from 10 years of war. All the USMC's equipment will be funneled thru here and Barstow for repair and return to duty as required. Adding a perception that if we don't do this, we'll lose the base cause Brac hates DCSS...there are better plots in a Nancy Drew mystery.

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dingleberry 1 year, 5 months ago

Who knows what the real back story is on this one since the base seems not willing to openly step up and really say things are bad in DCSS--a Corps tradition of "what happens within the gates stays within the gates". Fifteen years ago military were telling the COs that the schools weren't working for them. About that time, the Base did away with the forced requirement to live in the old TAFB housing since it was like living in a third world country from a security standpoint. This decision took some of the pressure off the discontent with DCSS for a time as military moved into the community in larger numbers--there was some choice. There will be a BRAC in the future for sure as DOD is drawn down to pay the price of social services, but at the moment the specter is as you say a scare tactic.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 5 months ago

"Scare tactic" do you really believe that's what it is? Who's scared of whom or what? As Tonto points out the BASE hasn't threatened DCSS and for all intents and purposes they have solved their issues satisfactorily. I think it's poor judgement on the part of Youngblood who wants to appear useful or important or something or other. Frankly I don't care who gets the money. The Board members need to address real issues rather than fencing with fairies or being concerned about how many angels can dance on the head of a needle. Fix our problems and perhaps the difficulty with education at MCLB will be repaired. I repeat the DCSS is not capable of building a new school system from ground up that is adequate and efficient. For evidence look no further than the absolutely despicable condition DCSS is in. Let's face it presented with the opportunity of sending your child to Lee County, Worth County of Baconton on the one hand and a Dougherty School on the other, what sober parent would make any other choice but to remove their youngster from DCSS.

PS I've read the article several times and frankly part of it isn't clear. How many students are they talking about in K-8? 50? 90? 150? 600? Who gets the $3800? DCSS? I don't think so. At least at one point the money followed the student and it was determined by the enrollment and attendance factors. In other words, you count noggins when they sign up and each school day. Utimately that is where the compensation comes from. Has the formula changed.

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AnotherMom 1 year, 5 months ago

I think this is a good idea. It seems they are trying to avoid losing money to other school districts. All schools in Dougherty County should be modeled after the charter system. However, it will never float because there are too many "parents" who send their kids to school as a free babysitting service. And I use the term parents loosely in this regard.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 5 months ago

Its a dead idea....I dont think its going anywhere........

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Ihope4albany 1 year, 5 months ago

It seems like there is a black elephant in the room. No one wants to talk about. This county for decades knows that it never created a quality education system for all children. Through the years of segregation, a caste education system was created. When integration came, whites left the school system in droves creating an even greater disparate education system.

If ever Albany-Dougherty can see that it is more beneficial to enhance the social systems that the majority of children live in, then the educational system will improve also.

I am losing a little hope here.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 5 months ago

Thats true.In the 1980's, the DCSS lost many teachers, and students to other counties and this educational system began to decline. Racism played a huge role in the departure of those individuals and many have kept quiet about it ever since.

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