TIFTON -- The Tift County Board of Education will send a draft of an administrative regulation on school attendance back to the drawing board after discussions at Tuesday's meeting. The regulation deals with out-of-zone and out-of-county requests from parents.

The board had already put into place an administrative policy before this school term that prohibited out-of-zone waiver requests except under crisis situations as determined by a committee who reviews the requests. Under the current regulation, all students who had already been granted a waiver to attend an out-of-zone school were allowed to continue to attend the current school until they complete the highest grade in that school.

Kimberly Andrews addressed the board during public comments and explained that she had made a written request that her fourth-grade daughter be allowed to attend J.T. Reddick instead of Charles Spencer. Andrews said that her other child had been granted a waiver and was attending J.T. Reddick and she needed her younger child to attend the same school so that the two children could walk together to their grandmother's house after school.

Chairman Richard Golden explained to Andrews that the first child was allowed to attend J.T. Reddick prior to the change in regulation and would be allowed to continue until he completed his time there.

Except for particular wording some board members suggested changing for clarification, it is expected that full-time employees of Tift County schools will be allowed to enroll a child or children in the school in which they teach, even if they don't live in that zone.

Concerning requests by parents of out-of-county students, the board discussed at length the proposal to assess a $100 fee for each child who attends a Tift County School but doesn't live in Tift County. According to attorney John Reinhardt, the state allows such an assessment.

According to the tabled proposal, no fee would be assessed for out-of-county students if their parents own property in Tift County that is taxed at or above the amount of the fee. Also, no fee would be assessed for children of full-time employees of Tift County schools.

The board reserved the right to charge tuition or revoke the privilege of an out-of-county student attending a Tift County school. Also, the board would have the right to deny requests in the case of school overcrowding and make the responsibility for transportation to and from the school the responsibility of the out-of-county parents. The school board reserved the right to prohibit out-of-county attendance if the student had discipline or attendance problems.

Reinhardt suggested that the board consider the ramifications of imposing the fee. He said that the school would give up some rights if the fee was collected and would become responsible for providing everything the state deemed the student needed, including a special teacher, curriculum or other extended services.

To contact city editor Angie Thompson, call 382-4321.

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