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Jefferson system seeks money to study charter school options
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JEFFERSON — The Jefferson City Schools System is continuing its study to determine if the system should pursue charter status.

During the school board’s meeting Tuesday, the group approved submitting an application to the Georgia Department of Education for an $8,000 Charter School Planning Grant.

"If we are approved, this grant would help to pay for our study while we continue to research and decide if moving towards a charter system is the best choice for our students," said Sherrie Gibney-Sherman, associate superintendent of schools.

Receiving the grant does not require the automatic conversion to a charter system. But should the school board move forward with charter status, the earliest that the change could take place would be the 2010-2011 school year.

Gibney-Sherman also informed the school board that local scores were above the state "in the percentage of students passing at every grade level and in every tested area" for the Criterion Referenced Competency Test.

Also during the meeting, board Chairman Ronald Hopkins said homeowners should expect their taxes to increase because the state government no longer will fund the Homestead Tax Relief Grant.

"If neither your property assessment nor the tax rate increases, most people expect that their taxes won’t go up, but because the (taxpayer relief grant) is going away, everyone should expect their taxes to go up by around $240- $260 if they own their own home," Hopkins said. "The increase will probably catch most people off guard, but they should be prepared. And don’t blame the city, the county or the assessors — blame the state."

The grant was previously used to reimburse local governments from funds lost due to property tax exemptions for homeowners.

The school board also approved buying 276 Martin St. for $115,000. The building will be used for additional office space. The structure dates back to 1939 and was a part of the Martin Institute, one of the first schools in Jefferson.

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