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Worth board amends decision on MCLB students

Worth County School Board Chairman William Jenkins is shown during a special called session prior to the board’s 5-0 vote Tuesday to allow 57 children of active-duty Marines living on Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to continue attending schools in Worth County.

Worth County School Board Chairman William Jenkins is shown during a special called session prior to the board’s 5-0 vote Tuesday to allow 57 children of active-duty Marines living on Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to continue attending schools in Worth County.

SYLVESTER, Ga. — The Worth County School Board held a special called meeting Tuesday night at which the board voted unanimously to amend a policy decision it made Thursday that would have prevented 57 children of active-duty Marines assigned to Marine Corps Logistics Base-Albany to attend schools in the district.

Tuesday's amended decision will "grandfather in" the MCLB-Albany children who are already attending the system, allowing them to remain in their current schools.

"We accomplished our mission and that was to keep our kids in the schools they call home," MCLB-Albany Commander Col. Don Davis said after the Tuesday vote. "My job as the commanding officer is to give my people options. I hope Worth County also realizes the value of the base to the county.

There was no discussion by the School Board before the vote. Immediately after the vote was taken, the board went into closed session to discuss a teacher issue.

The called meeting was the result of a surprise decision of the board Thursday to suspend a component of Policy JBCB (Nonresident Students) that had allowed "students whose parents are soldiers living on the military base" to attend Worth County schools.

That unexpected move, which came just 18 days before the 2013-14 Worth County school year starts on July 29, shocked MCLB-Albany officials and outraged base parents who were left wondering where their children would attend school.

The initial decision led to a conference call Monday between base officials and Worth County School System administrators, during which a tentative agreement pending board approval was reached to accept students who have been currently enrolled in Worth County schools. Further discussions will take place with MCLB-Albany and WCSS about a possible stipend for future enrolled students.

Davis said he did not care much for the idea of possible tuition for the base's children and that he would address the issue at a meeting with base parents Thursday night.

"I want to dispel some myths about the Dougherty County School System Thursday night," Davis said. "There are some fine individual schools in the system and I think our parents should be aware of that and include it among their options."

Just last month, DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely offered a "freedom of choice" option to the parents of active-duty service members living on base.

Mosely and several key members of his staff will be in attendance Thursday night.