It is all but official.
During Monday night’s Hall County Board of Education meeting, another discussion on opening up Hall schools to out-of-district students surfaced and another step in approving the move was taken.
Superintendent Will Schofield will deliver a proposal to the board to open up three county high schools to out-of-district, tuition-paying students.
If approved, those students could attend the International Baccalaureate Diploma programs at Johnson High School, North Hall High School and West Hall High School.
“I just think it’s an incredible program and if we have a few empty seats let’s open it up and let other children have those opportunities,” said Schofield.
The programs will first be open to in-county students for two weeks, then available to out-of-district students.
“Let’s be clear,” Schofield said. “First we will offer this to all of our students.”
Tuition for out-of-district students has not been set, but will likely be between $1,000 and $1,500 per student, per year.
Hall County students would not be charged tuition.
“We think that certainly covers our fixed costs,” said Schofield.
Schofield said he couldn’t give the exact number of open seats at the three programs, but it is likely in the range of 30-100.
The programs will only consider students entering their junior year.
Any student who transfers at that time will not be able to participate in varsity athletics because the Georgia High School Association would not consider the move “bona fide.”
“This is not about athletics,” said Schofield. “This is about what we consider to be our capstone academic program and opening that up to, first of all our students, and if we still have open seats, then opening that up to out-of-district students.”
Students would have to provide their own transportation.
Schofield will present the board next month with a specific proposal, including a set tuition rate.
The superintendent says the opportunities that students are given while in the program and upon graduation are “almost limitless.”
“What we hear from our students who get an International Baccalaureate diploma again and again is they never hoped, dreamed or imagined they’d have these kinds of opportunities with post-secondary education,” said Schofield.
Students should begin attending these programs this fall, if the board approves the proposal.
Deadline for charter school student applications is April 30
After getting state approval earlier this month, three additional charter schools in Hall County will take applications for enrollment until April 30.
The Chestnut Mountain Creative School of Inquiry, Mount Vernon Exploratory School and Flowery Branch High School, a Global Studies and Leadership Academy, are currently taking applications from interested students.
Students who live within Hall County, but outside of the schools’ districts can apply.
A lottery for available seats will be held May 1, if needed.
For more information, contact the schools at these numbers: Chestnut Mountain: 770-967-3121; Mount Vernon: 770-983-1759; Flowery Branch: 770-967-8000.
Lee Johnson covers education issues for The Times. Share your thoughts, news tips and questions with him: