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BoE talks about policies for tuition-paying out-of-county students

Tuition-paying out-of-county students in Fayette County school classrooms has moved from a theoretical concept to the draft policy stage.

The idea of accepting out-of-county students in Fayette County schools as a way of increasing much needed revenues first surfaced last year in a community survey and met with significant opposition.

But the idea is back this year, and comes in the wake of the Fayette County School System facing unprecedented cuts in expenses for the 2013-2014 school year that begins in July.

The consideration for accepting qualified out-of-county students was proposed recently by Superintendent Jeff Bearden, and a draft policy and enrollment application were topics at the Oct. 15 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education.

The draft policy states that the admission of out-of-county students is a privilege, not a right. The enrollment of a qualified student by a parent, guardian or custodian residing outside Fayette County are subject to a number of conditions, the draft policy said.

One of the conditions for attendance deals with required tuition that must be paid in full at the beginning of the school year.

“Nonresident students will be required to pay an annual tuition fee, the amount of which will be determined by the board of education. Tuition must be paid in full at the beginning of the school year. Non-payment (delinquency) of tuition will result in the student’s immediate withdrawal from the school system,” according to the draft policy.

Another condition of the draft policy states that admission is on a one-year basis, with the requirement that the student apply each year to continue enrollment in Fayette schools. The policy also notes that space must be available and that the acceptance of an out-of-county student will not require employing additional staff.

Other criteria for attending Fayette County schools concerns disciplinary issues.

“A student seeking enrollment may not have pending any disciplinary proceeding in the school where the student was previously enrolled and must otherwise be in good standing with the school the student last attended. Students who have withdrawn from a previous school district to avoid disciplinary action in a previous district may not enroll in the Fayette County School System,” the draft policy said.

The proposed enrollment application also includes the requirement that the student furnish a transcript, discipline records and attendance records from the previous school.

“A nonresident student is admitted conditioned upon the student’s good behavior and willingness to perform the required academic assignments.

“Any violation of the student code of conduct or of any other Fayette County Schools’ policies or regulations by a non-resident student may result in the revocation of the student’s privilege to attend Fayette County Schools.

“Decisions regarding revocation of this privilege may be made by the principal and superintendent without resort to a student disciplinary tribunal.

“A student or parent may appeal the decision of the principal to the superintendent. There is no appeal beyond the decision of the superintendent,” according to the draft policy.

Also noted in the draft policy is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide transportation to and from school. The non-resident student cannot catch a school bus or be dropped off at a school bus stop.

A portion of the policy pertains to the parent or guardian of the out-of-county student.

“Non-resident students may be denied enrollment or continued enrollment if the parent/guardian demonstrates an attitude of uncooperativeness, antagonism, threats, ridicule, or slanderous comments toward school programs, process, or personnel. Such denial is subject to appeal to the superintendent,” the draft policy stated.

Athletics, Attendance and Discipline Coordinator C.W. Campbell at the meeting said 13 other school systems in Georgia have a similar policy that allows out-of-district students to attend their schools.

Suggestions for the policy noted by board member Janet Smola included issues such as the addition that tuition be paid in full before the student is enrolled. Smola also wanted the tuition to amount to significantly more than the amount Fayette residents are paying through property taxes.

Pertaining to tuition, Superintendent Jeff Bearden said the school board will set that amount, adding that it would likely fluctuate somewhat from year to year.

The policy will sit for 30 days and be taken up by the school board in November.



According to C.W. Campbell, 13 other school systems in Ga have similar programs that allow out of county kids for a fee. I doubt any of those school districts have Clayton County as a neighbor. Clayton county who may lose their accreditation again. This is a horrible idea for many reasons. The major problem is that they need to get the HUNDREDS of out of county kids that are here illegally, out first. If the way this is being handled now is any indication, it will be a disaster. Additionally, it costs us approximately $8000 a year to educate a student. We get $4000 from the state. Simple math says if they paid $4000 per student, we would break even. I would love to see the figure the BOE comes up with for this enrollment fee.Then you have to consider the additional administrative costs to keep up with this program and to collect the money and kick out the ones who do not pay. BOE says they will collect money up front, but guess what? That is what they said about making the out of county kids pay when they get caught and now they allow them a payment plan. Then there are the ones who do not pay and threaten lawsuits when they are billed. I could go on and on. Please pay attention to this important issue and stay involved with it. Also notice that C.W. Campbell is retiring next month. Easy for him to through Fayette County under the bus.


Robert W. Morgan's picture

We have a school system with empty or partially empty schools and budget problems and leadership that is reluctant to cut costs. So, approach it from the other side - the revenue side. That's what a business would do. Need more students to fill the schools? Yep, invite them in. Need more money for operations? Yep. Charge them to be here. But actually charge them -no easy payment plans, no waivers for needy kids, no forgiveness when someone lies about their address. Treat it like a business that needs revenue -it is not just another government handout.

As far as how much to charge? More than $4,000 for sure. Probably significantly less than Woodward, since we ain't in that league. Wonder what Woodward charges nowadays. Used to be fairly reasonable.

Live free or die!

OK, I admit I may be wrong here.. However a few years back they started requiring that each student bring in a copy of a Gas,Electric bill or some other form of documentation to show they lived in Fayette County and were attending the correct school. I don't think I was asked for that this year. Maybe my memory is just bad..however I'm wondering if it's still a yearly thing or not.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Policing the out of county kids is not something the current or former superintendent and God knows the present school board sees as a priority. They want to act out of "fairness" and be seen as "compassionate" and they certainly don't want to invite a lawsuit where somebody like the NAACP screams that they are racist. Farfetched? I think not.

Live free or die!

If a person can not provide a gas bill, they can sign an affidavit - under threat of perjury. It would be interesting to know how many people in the county are here under "affidavit". They say they are living with a relative.....the names can be different. So you don't necessarily need proof of residency.

suggarfoot's picture

what you are up against is the civil liberties crowd and the NAACP bunch.
They don't want 'fair' . They want you to 'give' it all, they will sue.

All of a sudden Smola is trying to sound like the champion of getting rid of/ or making pay/ the out of county kids.

Let me assure she is not. In my eyes, she is the cause of the problem. Many years ago we tried to get them out. She personaly called me a racist and told me everything should be 50/50. I told her I didn't care what her personal beliefs were and that the kids didn' t live there they shouldn't go to school there. I feel she ruined Sandy Creek and the area around it. Now she does legally have her 50/50. Most parents just got tired of dealing with her/it and moved.

Now her cohort, Smith, is trying to run for her own seat as a Democrat, Her only hope being that the Dems will just vote Dem without looking at who or what they are voting for. Sad Sad

suggarfoot's picture

what you are up against is the civil liberties crowd and the NAACP bunch.
They don't want 'fair' . They want you to 'give' it all, they will sue.

All of a sudden Smola is trying to sound like the champion of getting rid of/ or making pay/ the out of county kids.

Let me assure she is not. In my eyes, she is the cause of the problem. Many years ago we tried to get them out. She personaly called me a racist and told me everything should be 50/50. I told her I didn't care what her personal beliefs were and that the kids didn' t live there they shouldn't go to school there. I feel she ruined Sandy Creek and the area around it. Now she does legally have her 50/50. Most parents just got tired of dealing with her/it and moved.

As a parent with a young child in the school system, I think that this idea is a bad one. Our BOE and upper echelon managers have a hard time managing the day to day operations of the school system as it is and now they want to complicate things even more. Our BOE needs to focus more on working together to operate as a fiscally conservative unit that makes sound, hard decisions to turn things around without comprimising our school system. Trying to solve a budget crisis with programs such as this one will do nothing more than improve our sports teams. If you want your kids to get a good solid education in Fayette County then you should be a member of the community just like the rest of us. I am seriously worried about the future of Fayette County schools and my child's education.

In my opinion.

RKS's picture

We got enough Clayton County problems as it is...those people would jump on the chance to put their kids here. Lots of them do already with their fake Fayette addresses.

Woodward is now slightly under $22k. When my son graduated in '10, it was around $19k.

FC schools rank high because of test scores. Does anyone believe that no matter what criteria is used to accept out of county students, that FC will be able to maintain its current ranking?

Yes, I think we will be able to maintain our current ranking. If Woodward cost almost 20K a year, and we only charge half of that, Many parents will see FayCo schools as an excellent value for money alternative to the local private schools which financially may be just out of reach. We have slackers and bums in this county already. But other counties, (APS, Fulton, Clayton) have a few excellent kids whos parents would rather them be here. If all we do is take in the kids that have a PSAT score of (x), or have a GPA minimum of (y), not only will our scores NOT drop, they might actually come up a few points. I generally put people from those areas all into the same bucket, just like you are doing now, but its a mistake to think they are all the same. We can make it work, we just have to be very selective about the admittance criteria, and have an admin with the sand to stick to it and not let every Tom, Dick and Harry's slacker kid in the front door.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Of course if you expelled the Clayon and Fayette kids, test scores would rise, but why worry about that? The administration seems unwilling to address that issue. Besides, this is a discussion about the budget - not test scores. We have had some irresponsible spending and an unforeseen downturn in the general economy and student enrollment and the BOE is finally getting serious about 1 possible solution - raising revenue and filling empty classrooms at the same time. Why not let them run with this? They don't want to fire teachers and certainly not administrators and they can't bring themselves to logically redistrict and close the 5 or 6 schools that would actually reduce expenses to the point it is meaningful - so why not encourage them when they finally get serious about the tuition idea? Or any good idea?

And maybe, just maybe, if you have a set tuition of say, $11,000 (half of Woodward), you might actually get some good students instead of the offspring of thugs who think it is ok to steal services from Fayete County using fraud and deceit. BTW, I wonder if that's a good thing to be teaching your kids at a very young age - it is ok to lie and steal if it is for the children.

Anyway, if you have $11,000 tuition and you catch some of the stealth students already here, you can charge those that will pay and run off the deadbeats. Long term, that may actually have the unintended (but very good) consequence of raising the scores you were so concerned about. Of course if you really want to dream, at $11,000 we may draw some kids out of Woodward since we would be offering something new at a seriously discounted price. Granted, they would be Fulton and Clayton kids, but way above average as far as intellect and work ethic.

Live free or die!

Let me respond to the question about proof of residency. We have so many kids here illegally that we had to hire a full time residency person who checks these fake leases and affidavits. Additionally, we have our social workers out on the streets chasing people down like police officers. According to our BOE rules, they have to be caught 3 times before we can kick them out. This is so backwards..the family should have to have the burden of proof, not the school. Even though it is a felony to lie on an affidavit, Fayette County rarely prosecutes and the thugs know it. We are the laughing stock and until they get a handle on this, we have no business opening another can of worms. If we need money so bad, let's get rid of that Senior citizen tax exemption for those grandparents who have kids in our schools. I know of one who sent 15 grandkids through..and he is tax exempt.


Give me a break....I am willing to bet that there are no willing (or in most cases, able) families out of our county willing to pay around 10-11k a year to send their kids to Fayette County schools. Come on, if they can afford that they'd use that money as a downpayment on a house and buy one here. The tuition option is a joke, especially the amount it will take to make it profitable for our school system. I can promise you the ones taking advantage of our school system with fake leases and affidavits can't afford it and the ones that can would likely rather place their kids in private schools that rival the tuition we'd have to charge.

This is a horrible idea! The kids in our own county can't even be placed in schools out of their assigned district due to "no space" (even though only a handful of schools in our county are at capacity) so why should out of county kids be allowed to? I can see it now: "No, your kid can't attend our school even though you live in our county and there's a house bill that allows it because the parent paying tuition from out of this county took your kids spot and there's no more room available." Why even bother living here?

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