More News & Features
By Stephanie Johns
Members of the Madison City Council heard an update from City Attorney Joe Reitman about their ongoing litigation with Morgan County regarding Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) money.
As previously shared in a Sept. 20, 2012 article that ran in the Citizen, “The one percent sales tax is levied by the county and distributed among the county and its four municipalities: Bostwick, Buckhead, Madison and Rutledge. The county currently receives 73 percent while Madison receives 22 percent, Rutledge receives 4 percent and Buckhead and Bostwick receive the remaining 1 percent.”
Initial LOST negotiations began last April. When Madison and the county were unable to reach an agreement, they then participated in mandatory mediation. Mid-September the county requested the courts decide how the funds should be distributed.
Reitman said they are in paper discovery right now, which means they are trading information, and that depositions of experts may take place. He said if the city does depositions it would be later this month or early June.
Reitman said there are two other noteworthy items pertaining to LOST litigation.
One, he noted that the Georgia Supreme Court will hear a review regarding the Turner County LOST litigation. In this case another court ruled in favor of the cities so the county is appealing.
Two, there may be an appeal regarding the City of Forsyth-Monroe County LOST litigation. In this instance, the ruling was in the county’s favor.
“With at least one, maybe two cases in front of the Georgia Supreme Court I hope there will be statewide direction,” he said. “So we won’t be in this adversarial city versus county posture, not only here but in other cities where I’m handling LOST litigation currently.”
Scores based on a new state measuring tool: College & Career Ready Performance Index
By Kathryn Schiliro
Scores for what will become the initial, baseline measure of the state-mandated, newly implemented Common Core curriculum, called the College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI), were announced for each of the county's schools at Monday night's meeting of the Morgan County Board of Education (BOE).
Out of the CCRPI's possible 100 points, Morgan County Primary School scored 95.5; Elementary School, 96.9; Middle School, 83.8; and High School, 75.8.
This CCRPI replaces the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measure for Georgia. AYP was born of the U.S. No Child Left Behind legislation of 2001, or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and this is still the applicable legislation, according to Assistant Superintendent Debra White.
The CCRPI 100 points include a possible 70 for "Achievement," 15 for "Progress" and 15 for "Achievement Gap." Additionally, schools can receive up to 10 extra "Challenge Points" for economically disadvantaged students, English Learner students and students with disabilities meeting expectations, as well as participation in college and career readiness initiatives.
The numbers presented at this meeting are based on last year's test scores. A new CCRPI will come out in October based on this school year's scores.
There are no system scores available this go-round, but eventually there will be.
Next school year, 2013-2014, school will also receive financial efficiency and school climate ratings, but these will not factor in to the overall CCRPI.
By Patrick Yost
Morgan County authorities have interviewed two men in relation to a rash of Buckhead thefts but neither man has been arrested.
According to Capt. Chris Bish, Criminal Investigations Division, Morgan County Sheriff's Office, the two men have been questioned regarding 11 car break-ins that occurred in the Buckhead area between Wednesday night, May 8 and early Thursday morning, May 9.
In total, Bish said, 11 vehicles were broken into. Reports indicate that radios, CD players, wallets with cash, a Garmin GPS unit and currency were taken in the thefts. Bish said of the 11 vehicles, only 10 were locked.
"We are still pursing leads," he said. "We feel like its a localized situation compared to outsiders coming in and doing it."
Bish said two men were identified by witnesses who observed them in downtown Buckhead at approximately 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
The thefts occurred at five locations on Seven Islands Road, three locations on Buckhead Road and at houses on Baldwin Dairy Road and Cleveland Avenue.
Bish said investigators had been slowed in the investigation by property owners lack of identifying numbers for items taken. "The victims have failed to identify the property," he said.
Bish said during the theft someone also attempted to enter the Buckhead Grocery Store. A store alarm thwarted that effort, he said.
He also warned citizens to be diligent in securing property. "If everybody locked their cars (potential thieves) are going to go elsewhere.”
Perpetrators in the thefts will face felony burglary counts if arrested.
He said the men being questioned by authorities either have knowledge of the burglaries or may have more information leading to the arrest of those responsible. "We believe they're involved but they have not been charged at this time."
He also cautioned citizens to lock
By Kathryn Schiliro
If numbers are any indication, Morgan County Elementary and Middle School students and their parents took the significance of the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) to heart as attendance numbers were near perfect at these schools.
The state-required CRCT is given to third through eighth grade students in the reading, English-language arts and math.
Morgan County gave the CRCT in mid-April. At the elementary school, over the five-school day period between April 16 and April 22, when the CRCT was given, the school saw three or five students absent each day, according to Assistant Superintendent Debra White.
At the middle school, during the same time period, the school saw eight students absent the last day of testing, but between one and four students absent the other four days, according to White.
Testing results won't come back from the Georgia Department of Education until this summer.
Printed in the May 16, 2013 edition.