Transporting pupils is the next hurdle

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Children being moved out of Gilbert Manor in the next few months will likely be able to attend their old school through the end of the school year if the parents request it, Richmond County School Superintendent Dana T. Bedden said Wednesday.

The problem could be how they get there.

Dr. Bedden, Augusta legislators and public transportation officials met Wednesday morning with the board of the Augusta Housing Authority to talk about potential problems for residents moving out of the housing complex to make way for an expansion of the neighboring Medical College of Georgia.

The school system has identified 156 school-age children who live in the complex, said Michael Shinn, the director of transportation for Richmond County schools. Of those, 48 will be moving to other public housing, and most of those have chosen Olmstead Homes, said Housing Authority Executive Director Jacob Oglesby. Of those, 21 are elementary school pupils who would most likely be switching from Joseph R. Lamar Elementary School, Mr. Oglesby said.

"If a child moves from Gilbert to Olmstead and wanted to stay in Joseph Lamar school through the end of the school year, is that possible?" authority board member Jack Widener asked.

It would be up to the school board, but the school system handles such requests routinely, and transportation is up to the family, Dr. Bedden said.

"If a parent came up right now and said, 'Can I stay? And I can get there.' We can actually sign off on it and say, 'Fine,' " Dr. Bedden said.

"The Board of Education is clear; we can make it work that they can stay. The issue becomes transportation."

Moving a child at this time of year, when they take crucial standardized tests in March and April, would be a concern, he said.

"Given the timing too for the preparation of all of those things, it would be my recommendation for us to make it happen to minimize that bad experience for these children," Dr. Bedden said.

It is unclear just how many parents will request it. Although officials began a series of discussions with residents in August, the issue wasn't raised until a public forum Dec. 27, Mr. Oglesby said. So far, the housing authority has heard from only three families, said board member the Rev. K.B. Martin.

"Let's not make it into something beyond what it really is, but be prepared to do what needs to be done for those persons who may be moving immediately," he said.

If a driver can be found, the housing authority has a bus that might be used for transporting students, Mr. Oglesby said. Augusta Public Transit has routes near all of the housing authority complexes, and some schoolchildren already use city buses to get to school, Director Heyward Johnson said.

The board asked Buddy Oldfield, the director of residential services for the housing authority, to survey the parents and talk to Mr. Shinn about what the transportation needs might be.

Some, such as Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta, wondered if the school question couldn't be solved by waiting.

"Have you considered as a board delaying the move until the end of the school year?" he asked.

The problem is that a number of units at Olmstead Homes and Peabody Apartments are open now because of renovations there, said board Chairman Rodger B. Murchison.

"The replacement housing is available now," he said. "It may not be the case in the near or distant future. So moving now is paramount."

The housing authority also can't keep units vacant for months because the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development judges the agency on how quickly it turns over units, Mr. Oglesby said.

"We lose too much money," he said.

And some residents are ready to move. Of the 112 Section 8 housing vouchers requested, 89 have been issued, and three have already found units, Mr. Oglesby said.

The school issue also is probably not a problem for the 140 one-bedroom units, about half of Gilbert Manor, that are most likely filled with disabled or elderly residents, Mr. Oglesby said. Community volunteers, including some at First Baptist Church where Dr. Murchison is associate pastor, are pledging to help those residents with packing and moving.

State Sen. Ed Tarver, D-Augusta, said he was encouraged by the attitude of those in the room to smooth out any pitfalls.

"Today you saw a commitment to deal with any problem that could arise," he said.

Dr. Murchison echoed that.

"So many times we see the opposite, agencies not working together," he said. "Here we are, agencies are pulling together, trying to help a community need. I think that's very commendable."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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junebug
0
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junebug 01/10/08 - 03:32 am
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It would be up to the school

It would be up to the school board, but the school system handles such requests routinely, and transportation is up to the family, Dr. Bedden said.

Then why should this be any different?

ConsiderThis
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ConsiderThis 01/10/08 - 06:15 am
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Sometimes reporters might not

Sometimes reporters might not quote or put entire statements in an article which can change the meaning and/or leave out important information. The entire issue appears to be if you need transportation. It is my understanding that if you get a zone exception which is an administrative process routinely handled by the administration, they can approve or disapprove it. However, the transportation part is the responsibility of the person. Making transportation allowances might need to go to the school board.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 01/10/08 - 06:25 am
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Under an ideal situation,

Under an ideal situation, everyone would be happy all of the time. When you're riding the free train, you need to take the available seat.

mastersmoney
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mastersmoney 01/10/08 - 06:30 am
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Amen Patricia!

Amen Patricia!

jasall18
1
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jasall18 01/10/08 - 08:25 am
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The solution is simple.

The solution is simple. Nothing is really gonna be done before the end of the school year, so why don't they just stay were they are at till the year is over and then transfer to the new school.

getalife
4
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getalife 01/10/08 - 08:38 am
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I agree with PT and think

I agree with PT and think maybe jasall18 is correct. Several more months will not matter!!

anotherlook
101
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anotherlook 01/10/08 - 08:58 am
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It seems the article stated

It seems the article stated most GM displaced families would move to Lake Olmstead homes. If there were 21 elementary school students who needed to continue attending Jospeh R. Lamar to prevent disruption of their education, couldn't the AHA send their Resident Services bus to transport the children to the school? In cases where the children were seriously out of zone and had no other transportation options, would it be possible to issue special Augusta Public Transit passes and allow those older children to ride the city bus? Could this be funded by the relocation money that was giving to the AHA. Moreover, the relocation of the students that will be attending the 'New School' should be handled in such a way as to make sure the transition would be the least problematic for them. Statistics suggest educational instabilitiy risks school failure. A plan to give tours and partner the students with others in the 'New School' would be able to reduce the impact to those children moving mid-year. The RCBOE should make sure that a thorough assestment of each child's progress be done to facilitate any special services that might be necessary to help them in area(s) of low performance.

InChristLove
22481
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InChristLove 01/10/08 - 08:59 am
0
0
"The replacement housing is

"The replacement housing is available now," he said. "It may not be the case in the near or distant future. So moving now is paramount." I think this is why they are saying they can't wait until the end of the school year.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 01/10/08 - 10:04 am
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Why move from one project to

Why move from one project to the next? From Gilbert Manor to Olmstead Homes, *UGH*... What about the high school students living in Gilbert Manor... The student boby population at Laney is already low.

Yak1
1
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Yak1 01/10/08 - 10:12 am
0
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Like this is going to make a

Like this is going to make a difference in their educational success?

gama40
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gama40 01/10/08 - 10:19 am
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beggars can't be choosers

beggars can't be choosers

WAG
287
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WAG 01/10/08 - 10:31 am
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If I have to move to another

If I have to move to another zone are they going to pick my kid up. This is rediculous. Let them get their own way to school. They already get free housing, medical.food stamps and whatever else they can get. So why do I as a tax payer have to get their kid to school also. get up off their lazy --- and go to work and pay for housing just like I do..

truthbknown
0
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truthbknown 01/10/08 - 10:36 am
0
0
Make these kids go to the

Make these kids go to the school they will be zoned for. When my father was in the military and got orders, it didn't matter if it was in the middle of the school year, you moved!!!! These people need to quit whining and move.. I can understand the elders and handicapped needing help. Get off your lazy butts, get a job and work for a living and quit living off the government, and my tax money. I understand that sometimes you just can't make it , but I'm tired of paying peoples way that play the system!!!

dani
12
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dani 01/10/08 - 11:25 am
0
0
This situation gets more

This situation gets more ridiculous by the day. When does is end. Is there no one in this GM mess that can exist without government intervention. My goodness. What have we come to.
Disgusting. Have these people no shame?

intheknow
16
Points
intheknow 01/10/08 - 11:29 am
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Nothing has changed. First of

Nothing has changed. First of all, your father was in the military as was I. At no time did my family move prior to my obtaining housing for them. These people homes were sold out from underneath them, therefore they did not decide to move during a school term, it was decided for them. IMHO Anotherlook post is 100% on target.

jshep67
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jshep67 01/10/08 - 12:06 pm
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my personal favorite was the

my personal favorite was the quote at the end of the piece of Dr Murchison: "Here we are, agencies are pulling together, trying to help a community need. I think that's very commendable." MAKE ME GAG. I think Chris Rock said it best when commenting on the parent who brags "I take care of MY kids". He responds with "What you want, a COOKIE?" These agencies, when 'coming together' are doing what they are SUPPOSED to do! I mean, did I get a ribbon for showing up to work today & doing my JOB? HECK NO.

anotherlook
101
Points
anotherlook 01/10/08 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Some of these post have

Some of these post have expressed quite vehemently that no additional help should be given to the GM families that are not elderly or disabled. I must ask, Is it really our intent as members of tge larger community to place the blame upon these children for the poor choices made by their parents or the circumstances of their upbringing? Is it our intent as fellow citizens to place addtional obstacles in the way of children who may already be at high risk of school failure? Finally, is it really our intent that children who still have potential for a better future and opportunities for a productive life not receive every advantage that we as caring adults can afford them? What messages are we sending here? Are we saying education is only beneficial for some? Is it our belief that If you are born on the wrong side of the tracks, then don't look for any help because you should just give up and accept your lot in life? I really don't think that is the perspective of most of those posting here. But for those that may still share these views, think about it in this way: the money we save by not investing in our young people doesn't possibly balance the cost of future imprisonment.

toppergem
125
Points
toppergem 01/10/08 - 12:22 pm
0
0
Yes, the people living in GM

Yes, the people living in GM might be beggars and freeloaders and some of you have suggested and the train ride might very well be free. But, everyone regardless of their station in life has the right to be treated with respect and have their concerns voiced, listened to and respected. That is what I want and demand for myself and that is what I wish for others.

AsItIs
1
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AsItIs 01/10/08 - 12:28 pm
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0
Where is Mr. Kitchens with

Where is Mr. Kitchens with his "gas card" when they need him?

jshep67
0
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jshep67 01/10/08 - 12:36 pm
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testing one two three

testing one two three

dani
12
Points
dani 01/10/08 - 12:44 pm
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anotherlook..I think if you

anotherlook..I think if you could see into the heart of people you would see that they too have had hard times and managed to make it through without demanding help from others. The "innocent child" thing is being over-done. Do you really believe that the parents of children at GM are fighting for the children. Not hardly. If so, they would take care of them.
dannielle...

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/10/08 - 12:46 pm
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Good point truthbeknown. If

Good point truthbeknown. If military children can do it, why not those receiving assistance.

TakeAstand
13
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TakeAstand 01/10/08 - 12:49 pm
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another good point dani!!!

another good point dani!!! Anotherlook I agree with you, about the innocent children, but if thats the case, why shouldnt the gov be able to put a stop to those who continue to have children they already can not afford. No one should have a child while already receiving assistance!! The innocent children are being hurt by their parents, no one else!!

GET REAL1
1
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GET REAL1 01/10/08 - 12:50 pm
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0
right toppergem, and all are

right toppergem, and all are not beggars and freeloaders. many work and receive an income that is low. anyways, i moved to columbia county, but i drive my son 45 minutes to his school. this can not be done by all parents. some parents dont have a car, u idiots!!!also, i dont arrive to my job until around noon. the so called 'freeloaders' may loose their jobs if they have to travel for one hour like i do in the morning if they are expected to arrive at 8 am. get a life people.

justus4
109
Points
justus4 01/10/08 - 01:23 pm
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Please don't compare
Unpublished

Please don't compare civilians to military families. There is NO realistic comparsion and further demonstrate the ignorance of Americans. It's apples vs oranges. To understand the issues, please remove the racist emotions and stick to the facts.

dani
12
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dani 01/10/08 - 03:08 pm
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Everyone..We're boycotting

Everyone..We're boycotting you know who, right?

MartinezWest Augusta
2
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MartinezWest Augusta 01/10/08 - 03:13 pm
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Black is the only race that

Black is the only race that teen age pregnacy has gone down. White and hispanic teenage pregnacy has gone up. With the shooting at the utah mall, the two colorado churches. The north ga hiker, staci peterson, and the family from connecticut. Where the father was tied up by two white men. While his mother and two daughters were raped. It seems we need to start passing out birth control, and condoms to white girls. Seems like they are having sex like rabbits. The trailer park of washington rd in evans going to lincoln county. And the one by kmart on washington rd. There are alot white girls who all have about 6 kids apeice. Some was as young as 14 with a kid. One girl was 17 with 3 kids. One was mix with hispanic the other all white. It was funny, because nobody knows who their dad is. And all the boyfriends try to act like gangsters. Im like you are a white dude, stop trying. Just because you sell meth, or cocaine does no mean you are a thug or tough guy. Its kinda sad though, but there are some freaks who live there. Some if you want a quickie im sure they will be down.

gapeach759
0
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gapeach759 01/10/08 - 03:35 pm
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Why MCG is not responsible

Why MCG is not responsible for providing transportion?

Georgiais1
0
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Georgiais1 01/10/08 - 03:42 pm
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MT E. Are you a thug? You

MT E. Are you a thug? You sound like one.

convertedsoutherner
2
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convertedsoutherner 01/10/08 - 05:12 pm
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mt.ev... looks like you are

mt.ev... looks like you are posting that on other articles also. please give the site where you found this info. justus... years ago, the military moves were no easy ride. we got orders, give notice to present employer, had to clear quarters, pack belongs/move, find housing at new location (since housing wasn't always available), register children in different schools, find new jobs, change banking, and many other situations. it may be apples and oranges, to you, but it wasn't easy. there wasn't anyone there to help us make all the arrangements and make sure our children were a priority. sometimes it wasn't very pleasant, but we made it by ourselves and had to pay for deposits and things before we got any money. also, our moves weren't just across town.

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