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Board puts off decision on alternative school transportation

Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 9:48 PM
Last updated 10:03 PM
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The possibility of providing transportation for students in Richmond County’s alternative program has been pushed back another month.
The Richmond County Board of Education in De­cember authorized staff to begin looking into the feasibility of busing the students from across the county to the downtown program.

Students suspended or expelled from their schools have to provide their own transportation to the program currently housed on Baker Avenue, and many are not able to attend because of the distance.

Representatives from juvenile court asked the board to consider paying for buses in December, saying it could significantly affect the success of its efforts to diminish juvenile crime.

The court got a $250,000 state grant this summer to pay for three therapists to do home therapy with about 20 at-risk youth and their families.

The grant is part of the Children in Need of Services program, a new classification created under Georgia’s new juvenile justice law to rehabilitate rather than detain youth who commit status offenses.

Juvenile Court Judge Pamela Doumar said many of the students in the CHINS program will also be in the alternative program, and they cannot be rehabilitated if they are not in school.

On Tuesday, board attorney Pete Fletcher said staff looked at running one bus to six or seven community centers across the county that could serve as hubs for pick-up.

The problem is that to complete that route, a bus would have to run as early as 5:30 a.m. and would not finish dropping students home until after 6 p.m.

The Department of Juvenile Justice has agreed to put probation officers on the bus and in the community centers to monitor the students, but Fletcher said they would not be able to work these hours.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board,” Fletcher said.

He said it would cost $6,000 to run the bus and that juvenile court has offered $3,000 in discretionary funds to pitch in.

He said the route might have to be scaled back to two or three stops throughout the county or target just students in the alternative program who are involved with juvenile court.

The difficulty arises because students enter and exit the alternative program at varying times throughout the year, which would constantly alter the bus route, Fletcher said.

“We’ve been having good conversations, but when you sit down with a pad and try to work out the logistics, with just one bus it’s pretty tough,” he said.


The Richmond County Board of Education will hold the final town hall meeting about the proposed rightsizing scenarios at 6 p.m. Thursday at Garrett Elementary School, 1100 Eisenhower Drive.

Superintendent Frank Roberson will include the feedback gathered at the four community meetings in his recommendation for the board to vote on March 11.

Education consultants have proposed the following scenarios to address overcrowding and under-utilization at various schools:

• Close Collins K-8 School

• Reconfigure T.W. Josey High into a 6-12 school to take in Murphey Middle students (Murphey would close)

• Reconfigure Butler High into a 6-12 school to absorb Sego Middle students (Close Sego)

• Relocate Rollins Elementary to the Sego building

• Consolidate National Hills and Garrett elementary schools (close National Hills)

• Build a new K-8 school for west Augusta

• Add a sixth grade to A.R. Johnson Health Science Engineering Magnet School

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corgimom 02/19/14 - 01:15 am
Augusta, BOHICA! Provide

Augusta, BOHICA!

Provide transportation for criminals to attend Tubman Reformatory, but slash programs right an left for the good kids, the kids that want an education, that follow the rules and conduct themselves like decent people.

corgimom 02/19/14 - 01:15 am
little snits Hahahaha!

little snits


TrukinRanger 02/19/14 - 08:56 am


seenitB4 02/19/14 - 09:20 am

I'm so glad I don't have children in school anymore.

deestafford 02/19/14 - 09:33 am
How many attend the alternative school?

How many attend the alternative school? What is the geographical distribution? Are there enough to justify another school and have it in South Augusta if there are enough students there? If not, don't provide them transportation.

Students and parents must understand there are negative impacts resulting from bad behavior. I would bet there are some neighbors who watch the affective parents struggle to get their children to the alternative school and take efforts with their children to see they don't get into trouble.

As far as the argument of spending the money on transportation will save money on the youth justice system one has to consider there are time values of money and the money comes from different pots. There is no data to prove that transportation money will equal or be less than the justice system costs. It's only a theory that has never been proven.

The "brilliant" governor of NY is going to spend billions on the educating of prisoners so they can get a college degree with the theory that will prevent them from becoming prisoners again. His action is based on the idea that education cost X dollars and returning to prison cost 3X dollars thereby saving 2X dollars by not having the prisoners return for other crimes. Sounds good on the surface but there is no cost analysis based on real world data to prove his theory. Typical liberal reasoning without backup data.

qtinbell 02/19/14 - 11:05 am
Who's Ultimately Responsible????

Why isn't the parents' responsibility mentioned? They are the ones actually empowered (or should be) to change the students' behavior. If they want their children-- who cannot or will not coexist harmoniously within a mainstream school setting-- to get an education, then they need to arrange transportation to the alternative school. This will make parents step up to the plate to make sure that their children follow the rules or they will be inconvenienced. Otherwise, where are the consequences here? There must be some. And the taxpayers alone shouldn't be the one to pay them.

Make the parents pay for the bus. If they can't afford it, make them do service at the board of education building or find "alternative" ways for them to pay! Bottomline: Disincentivize the acts of problem children by putting pressure on parents as a deterrent, not by burdening the taxpayers. I'm just sayin'...

qtinbell 02/19/14 - 11:29 am
McGruff just got hit by a car

deeStafford, if the NY governor wants to benefit from the theory that education prevent's crime, he needs to invest that money on the front end-- to students graduating high school or to folks before they get a criminal record. Otherwise, he's rewarding criminals for their bad deeds. I guess in this case "crimes DOES pay!"

my.voice 02/19/14 - 02:58 pm
In my day, "alternative

In my day, "alternative transportation" was me walking to school!

veritasthorn 02/20/14 - 06:10 am
Somthing Y'all Need To Know

My name is Jeff Sexton. I am a former Software Developer at SRS and Senior Software Developer at Medac/ Kam Technologies. I have twice been recognized by the Georgia House of Representatives for my work in open government, have twice run for small town City Council in southwest Georgia, won a Lights of Liberty award from the Advocates for Self Government, won a Scholar of Promise award from America's Promise, and was the first to bring national attention to the Erica Masters/ Jimmy Vowell story in 2012.

Dichotomy says

"I'm sorry but I just cannot see why taxpayers should be punished by having to pay for transportation for students that SHOULD have been expelled and probably should be doing jail time. There is no rehabilitating these little snits and it is a waste of time and OUR money to pamper them with extraordinary, expensive, transportation arrangements and probation officers to make sure they don't kill anyone on the way to school. What are you thinking people???? Do you just look for ways to blow our money on useless projects???? We have offered the little criminals a second chance by having an alternative school. If they can't make it, then so be it. Cut OUR loses and move on because odds are they aren't going to make through the RC diploma mill anyway."

Let me tell you a story, Dichotomy. It is the story of how a scared teenager who didn't know of something called Autism Spectrum Condition was bullied, teased, and abused for 16 years. Who never felt truly at home in any school he was in - until one. This story has its shares of triumphs - this kid was virtually always on honor roll, won his school spelling be once, and was generally one of the smartest kids in the school. It also has its share of tragedies - this kid was beaten and/or ridiculed by his peers on a near daily basis, and his school turned a blind eye to all but when he struck out in defense. This kid had been questioned by cops without a lawyer, parent, or even school counselor present for something that he had never heard of until cops began questioning him - yet they never bothered even talking to him about the one time he had a kid's life in his hands, meaning to kill him, but was stopped. It is a story of a kid whose neurology - the very way his senses and brain work to interpret the world - is very different from anything you can possibly ever really understand - and because of this, he never really understood the very societal structures he was living in. It is the story of a society who never bothered to try to find out why this kid was so different.

Until one man. The principal at the alternative school, who would take this kid under his wings. He would show this confused, angry kid how to control that anger and begin to understand the world the way normals interpret it, even if he never agreed with their views. This principal showed this kid mercy, love, and understanding, at a time when even his own parents didn't really understand him. This principal became this kid's mentor, a second father, even long after the kid graduated high school and very nearly until the kid graduated college and even, in a lesser extent, to this very day, nearly 15 years after they first met.

In case it wasn't obvious, I AM that kid. I am also everything I said at the beginning, and I dare say that the statistics say that I'm probably making more money than you and my experience says I've probably done more to contribute to the betterment of my community than you've ever done - and I'm actively working to do even more, working to reach out to the very alternative school kids you look so down on to offer them hope. Hope that they don't have to listen to scumbags like you who will always look down on them, who would consign them to the morgue or worse, to a life on the streets. Hope that they can achieve everything I have and FAR more.

You want to look down on alternative school kids? You have to look UP at the tallest skyscrapers on the planet just to see the bottom of my boot.

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