Worth board relents on military students - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Worth board relents on military students

Worth County Board of Education Chairman William "Butch" Jenkins Worth County Board of Education Chairman William "Butch" Jenkins

Worth County School Board members will vote on a proposed agreement with the Marine Corps Logistics Base, which would allow current students on the base who go to school in Worth County to continue going there.

This comes after the school system barred those students last week to save money.

"The only way the school board can raise money is property taxes," said Worth County Board of Education Chairman William "Butch" Jenkins.

He says in an effort to save money, and not put the burden on taxpayers, the board suspended their policy with the Marine Corps Logistics Base, no longer allowing those students to attend school in Worth County.

"We get our revenues from property taxes, from people that live in the County. So as we take out of county students, that cost is shifted directly to the county because it's not matched dollar for dollar from federal and state funds," said Jenkins.

Jenkins says they've been able to absorb budget cuts without impacting student services, until now. "We're at a crossroads now where we're actually going to have to raise the millage rate to meet our budgetary demands. And that's what's kind of forced us into looking at all of our programs and the cost of all of our programs to see what we can afford."

But after outcry, Worth County schools and MCLB are now trying to meet in the middle.

"I'm not surprised at the response against us. That really took me back and it said a lot about our school system that we have such an impact on those families. That much of an impact that we need to try to come to common ground and I think that's what we did."

Their proposed agreement now says students who live on the base and attend school in Worth County can continue their education there. And a tuition will be put in place for any students wanting to enroll in the future.

"Even when other counties around us have voted to instill a tuition fee for out of county students, we've tried to hold off on that as much as possible and as long as possible."

Jenkins is hopeful other board members will be in favor of the new agreement and their relationship with MCLB can move forward. The tuition fee will be established if the agreement is approved.

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