New school gets principal
A Principal-elect for the new McDuffie County Junior High School was approved Thursday by the school board. Steve Rhodes, principal of Norris Elementary School, will move on as principal of the junior high school when it opens in the fall of 2007.
Superintendent Dr. Mark Petersen said Mr. Rhodes will continue as principal of Norris until "the board determines he needs to be working full-time on his responsibilities at the new school," which should be approximately five months before it opens.
As principal-elect, Mr. Rhodes will have input on the design and construction of the new building, the curriculum, and personnel.
"He's done a very good job over at Norris for the past four years," Dr. Petersen said. "He's dedicated to the boys and girls. He's top-notch."
Dr. Petersen notes the job was not advertised to the public, as it is "our goal to support and promote folks from inside our system."
School board expresses concerns about proposed tax change
In the Georgia General Assembly, House Resolution 58, proposed by Representatives Keen, Richardson, Burmeister, Jamieson, and Smith, proposes an amendment to the state constitution that eliminates local funding of education by ad valorem taxes, and instead imposes state sales tax, not to exceed 3 percent, as determined by the General Assembly.
The McDuffie County School Board discussed this resolution at the monthly planning session, citing concerns such as the stable property tax as a source of local revenue would end; sales tax are volatile and could become insufficient during economic downturns; sales tax may be insufficient to keep up with inflation; taxpayers would no longer be able to deduct taxes paid on their homes; local county governments would have to increase taxes; and a new burden would be created for senior citizens who do not pay school property taxes but would have to pay an additional three percent on all their purchases.
"This is not something this board would approve of," said Dr. Mark Petersen, superintendent. "The control needs to be in the hands of the local board, not the state."
Hurricane mission to leave Saturday
School board member Mike Love had to locate a new beneficiary for the McDuffie County School's Kids to Kids Campaign. Mr. Love chose the school system of Pass Christian, Miss. as the original recipient, because their needs were so great, and the system was comparable to McDuffie County in size.
Since then, Mr. Love said Pass Christian has appeared on Good Morning America, and "been inundated with more donations than they can handle."
Mr. Love spoke with Pass Christian School Board officials, and learned that Bay St. Louis, Miss., also has great needs.
Bay St. Louis schools students still have not been able to return to school. The system is similar to McDuffie County; they have one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools.
He plans to visit the area Saturday.
Bus drivers to be recognized
McDuffie County School Bus Drivers will be recognized on School Bus Driver Appreciation Day, Monday, Oct. 24.
According to Dr. Jim Franklin, assistant to the superintendent, a drop-in will be held at the bus shop, with coffee and donuts for the drivers. Each driver will receive a stainless steel insulated coffee mug. Inscribed on the front of the mug is "School Bus Drivers make the most important deliveries." The back of the mug is inscribed with "Accept our many thanks as you travel on your way, Delivering students safely to school and home each day."
"The school bus driver faces many challenges each day," Dr. Franklin said. "...We must let them know that they are appreciated for the work they do."