McDuffie County Elementary Schools will hold a Kindergarten Round-Up to alleviate last-minute changes during the first week of school. Parents should come to the schools March 13-17 and register their child for kindergarten in the fall.
In 2005, kindergarten enrollment overflowed with 45 more students than expected on the first day of school. Four classes had to be added to the school system during the first week of school. The additions meant the school board had to decide and vote on adding a teacher and a paraprofessional for each class, as well as finding classroom space, furniture and curriculum.
"I can't afford to add them after the fact. The budget has already been approved, and the good teachers are gone. I need to be able to do that on the front end," said Dr. Mark Petersen, school superintendent.
McDuffie County Schools will receive reimbursement for educating students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The U.S. Department of Education will provide emergency impact aid funding to local education agencies for these costs during the 2005-2006 school year.
School Superintendent Dr. Mark Petersen said McDuffie County has 12 students from the hurricanes currently enrolled in the system. The Department of Education is paying $6,000 per student, and $7,200 per special education student, to be paid in four allotments. The local board of education must turn in the enrollment number each quarter to the department. Dr. Petersen said the department prorates the amount for how long the student stays in the county.
Dearing Sewer Rates Increase
The Dearing Town Council voted Monday to increase sewage rates effective immediately. The flat fee will increase $5, from $18.43 to $23.43, per month for residents and small businesses; and $25, from $150 to $175, per month for commercial accounts. Town clerk Judy Reeves said the town currently has approximately 247 houses, 14 small businesses, and one commercial tap, which is Dearing Elementary School. Mrs. Reeves said revenue has not been enough to pay Dearing's quarterly bill to the City of Thomson, which operates the sewerage. Mrs. Reeves said Dearing has had to dip into the general fund to supplement $4,000 per quarter to pay the bill.
"It went up for us - it more than doubled - so I don't see what else we can do," Mayor Kelley said of the increase. "This is a business. If you have one part of the business supplementing another part, then that's something that needs to be fixed."
Thomson gets transportation grant
Thomson officials received word from the Georgia Department of Transportation last week that Phase II of the downtown streetscape revitalization project would receive $400,000 of funding in the form of a Transportation Enhancement Grant.
Of $220 million applied for across the state, only $54.6 was available. The project in Thomson will compliment Phase I which is scheduled to begin construction on Main Street shortly. Phase II will also reconfigure traffic flow leading into the proposed City/County Government Complex which is still in the early planning stages.
USDA grants available
District Conservationist Cread Brown recently announced that the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications for the new Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative. The due date for the applications is March 7.
The 2006 CCPI offers two components: Conservation Priorities Component and Rapid Watershed Assessment (RWA) Component. For more information, call Cread Brown at 706-595-1339 ext. 3, or visit www.ga.nrcs.usda.gov/programs.