Local News

April 24, 2013

Roan rezone tied to state funding

Board approval expected on May 13

There are several reasons to rezone the area around Roan Elementary School, said Dalton Public Schools Deputy Superintendent Don Amonett, but one of the biggest is state funding.

Amonett spoke with several parents and students who could be impacted by the possible rezone during two public meetings at Roan Tuesday afternoon.

School officials are looking at rezoning the eastern part of the district to transfer 92 students — 69 from Blue Ridge Elementary School and 23 students from Park Creek School — to Roan at the start of the next school year.

“Schools are funded in Georgia based on attendance,” Amonett said. “If you have a certain amount of attendance you get more QBE (Quality Basic Education) funding to pay for staff like the principals, the media specialists. Things like that.”

QBE is a funding formula used by state officials to appraise the operating cost of each school district based in large part on the size of each school’s student body, among other factors. State officials haven’t been able to fully fund QBE for several years because of cuts to the state budget and provide even less funding for elementary schools below a 450-student threshold.

Roan currently has 396 students enrolled, Park Creek has 646 and Blue Ridge has 652, according to the state Department of Education website. After the rezone, school officials expect Roan to have 488 students, Park Creek to have 623 and Blue Ridge to have 583.

State education department officials limit class size to 35 students per teacher without an exemption waiver, but don’t directly mandate the minimum size of student bodies as long as facility and staff needs are met.

“With funding, we keep those positions that aren’t being funded by the state, but the difference is paid by local tax dollars,” Amonett said. “Taxes I pay, taxes you pay. So by rezoning we’re maximizing state funding and local tax dollars. So we should get maximum funding from the state. Roan is below the number we need so we want to do some balancing with our students. And Park Creek and Blue Ridge won’t be as overcrowded.”

Amonett told several parents they shouldn’t expect any difference in their children’s education if they move to another school.

“There isn’t a significant difference between the schools,” he said. “All elementary schools start and end at the same time. The basic programs, breakfast and lunch — that’s all the same thing. The only difference is that Roan does not have an after school program. But if you want your kid to continue their after school program, a bus from Roan will take them to Blue Ridge. So that works out.”

Cindy Parrott, principal of Roan, agrees.

“I’ve been at Roan School for 20 years,” she said. “We have a great family just like the other schools. We want parents and students to know we can’t wait to have them into our family. We look forward to having the opportunity to have their children here.”

School board members are expected to approve the rezone at their Monday, May 13, meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall. Every parent at Amonett’s two meetings — about 15 total — said they are OK with the change.

Asked if there would be any impact on bus routes, Amonett said the portion of Park Creek’s zone that would go to Roan would enter into a “parent responsibility zone.”

“When the economy started struggling state officials made cuts to transportation funding,” he said. “So we developed the parent responsibility zone. Basically that’s where we do not offer bus transportation because the student lives close enough to a school.”

The streets that would no longer get bus service include portions of Red Clay Avenue, Underwood Circle and Fields Avenue.

“I’ve sent out letters to every parent in the area that will be impacted by the rezone,” Amonett said. “Three letters were returned because the houses were vacant and one was returned because we didn’t include the apartment number. I hand delivered (the latter) ... there’s been no concern from parents. Everyone seems to be OK with the change.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Green spot closing 1 mlh.jpg A part of the family

    Larry Green can’t remember the exact date. But he says it was about 54 years ago when his father Marvin took him to see the new store he and his brother Herman had commissioned Red Jennings to build at 309 W. Emery St. in Dalton.

    July 29, 2014 3 Photos

  • New high school?

    The only means for “staying small” and preserving “The Dalton Way” in Dalton Public Schools may be through expansion, Superintendent Jim Hawkins said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Bond denied for man arrested in synthetic marijuana bust

    A Dalton business owner charged in a synthetic marijuana bust was denied bond Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Longtime Dalton business Green Spot to close

    Larry Green says he made the decision more than a year ago.

    July 29, 2014

  • Kiwanis Club3.jpg Kiwanians get a lesson in money and banking

    Money.
    It makes it easier for us to buy and sell goods and services. It is the measure by which we judge the relative value of those goods and services, and it allows us to “store value,” by placing it away and using it when we need it.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff: Inmates don’t ask to vote

    In his 21 years of service, Whitfield County Sheriff Scott Chitwood said inmates have never asked for the opportunity to vote.

    July 28, 2014

  • Little library 1 mlh.jpg Little Libraries, big goal

    Whitfield County just received a new library.
    And better yet, 26 more are on the way to the region.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Picture 3.jpg Rock solid

    A great number of things have come and gone since 1974.
    One that hasn’t: a small Dalton school founded by parents wanting a unique learning environment for their children.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • Vann House Day '14 6 mlh.jpg History comes alive at Vann House

    SPRING PLACE — In the early 1800s, the 1,000-acre plantation belonging to Cherokee Indian leader James Vann was a bustling place.

    July 26, 2014 5 Photos

  • Local officials agree with Deal

    Regarding news last week that approximately 30 unaccompanied minors from Central America, who had crossed the southern border into the United States, were sent without warning to Dalton last year and enrolled in Dalton Public Schools, Republican politicians representing portions of Murray and Whitfield Counties agree — state and local school officials deserved to know in advance, they say.

    July 26, 2014