If you’ve been wondering about something in your community, Ask The Times is your place to get answers. The following questions were submitted by readers and answered through the efforts of our news staff.
What are the main differences between regular government schools and charter schools? How many charter schools are there in Gainesville and Hall County?
Charter schools are allowed more flexibility in how they teach curriculum in exchange for a higher level of accountability, laid out in a contract between the school, school system and state.
The schools become exempt from certain state and local rules. This allows them to implement unique programs, such as focusing more on a particular subject area or on a different teaching method.
Currently, local school boards approve a school’s charter and send it on to the state for final approval.
In Hall County, students within the school system can apply to attend a charter school, even if it’s not the school they would attend according to district lines, though those within the district are given first priority.
When applications exceed capacity, a lottery process is used. Parents of students who live outside the charter school’s attendance zone must provide transportation.
Hall County currently has 11 charter schools. Some of those schools focus more on particular subject areas, such as the World Language Academy.
Others focus on a different teaching model, such as Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy, which teaches based on the idea that each student learns differently and has different strengths, and curriculum can be presented to better meet that particular learning style.
Enrichment is another model, used at two of the Hall elementary schools. In those schools, the focus is put on developing students’ particular talents by providing a broad range of experiences geared toward the children’s interests.
The Gainesville school system operates a little bit differently because the entire system has a charter.
So the system applies to the state for its charter status and students within the system have school choice. Each school has its own focus, similar to the charter schools in the county.
How do you get a voter photo ID card?
If you do not have an acceptable photo identification for voting, the state offers a Voter Identification Card for free.
The cards are issued at any county registrar’s office or Department of Driver Services office, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
The registrar’s office in Hall County is at the Government Center at 2875 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. A DDS office is at 1010 Aviation Blvd. in Gainesville.
Hall County Elections Director Charlotte Sosebee said the IDs are provided only to those who are registered to vote and do not own a driver’s license or other state-issued ID. The voter ID is used only for voting.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, to get the ID card, voters must bring the following:
- A photo identity document or approved nonphoto identity document that includes full legal name and date of birth;
- Documentation showing the voter’s date of birth;
- Evidence that the applicant is a registered Georgia voter; and
- Documentation showing the applicant’s name and residential address.