Board of Education will ask voters to approve 2020 ESPLOST in Nov.

News

Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – The Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to place a $48 million ESPLOST referendum before the voters in November.

The current ESPLOST, which was approved in 2015, can extend through 2021 or until the Board collects $36.5 million, whichever comes first. Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said he expects to reach the $36.5 million limit in late spring or early summer this year.

“The 2020 ESPLOST would be a continuation of the current one,” Gibbs said. “We have to submit the ballot question to the ballot builders by Aug. 5, then we have to publish several notifications in the newspaper and the referendum would be held on Nov. 5.”

If voters approve the one-cent tax, the maximum collectible amount would be set at $48 million and the maximum bonded indebtedness would be $10 million.

Chief Financial Officer Jamie Ulrich presented the financial report for the month of June and the current ESPLOST update.

“Everything on the financial statement is very good,” she said. “We still have about $290,000 in purchase orders open. We still have to get those closed before we are anywhere close to closing out FY 2019.” Currently the report shows $41,672,087 in expenditures and $41,181,337 in revenue.

The SPLOST report for the month of June shows revenue totaled $779,764, which is $143,070 ahead of projections and approximately $57,000 more than the same month last year. Year to date, collections are $27,073,143, about $3 million more than last year.

Renee Rogers gave the Board a review of Camp Invention which was held in June. Camp Invention is a STEM summer program that turns curious students into innovative thinkers. It is a nationally acclaimed program where STEM concepts come to life.

The theme of the 2019 program was Supercharged. Students took on four challenges – Innovative Force, Deep Sea Mystery, Farm Tech and DIY Orbot.

“It was an awesome experience,” Rogers said. “We had eight teachers, two parent volunteers, 25 high school students, five middle school students that worked together.”

Funding for the event was provided by Dawson County Charter Fund, McKinney Vento Scholarship and Nordsen Corp.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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Dawson schools set “Online Learning Day” Tuesday

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Dr. Damon Gibbs

At 5:15 p.m. today Monday (Dec. 11), Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs issued the following statement regarding school closures. “Due to potentially dangerous road conditions, Dawson County Schools will have an Online Learning Day Tuesday (Dec. 11). All 12 month employees should report at 10:00am if safe to do so.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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DCHS football team under fire for pre-game prayer

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Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Dawson County High School’s football team has come under fire from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) for allowing a pastor to lead a pre-game locker room prayer.

The FFRF has filed a complaint with the Dawson County School System asking the pastor, Russell Davis of the Etowah Church, be removed from the team and that the school no longer allow religious leaders access to its students.

The complaint states “It is well-settled law that schools cannot appoint or employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for students or agree to have a volunteer teach other people’s children that character centers on religious belief, because public schools may not advance or promote religion.”

FFRF became aware of Davis and the pre-game prayer after a video was placed on a Facebook page.

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs issued the following statement in response to the complaint.

“The School District became aware on Friday of a letter sent to the attorney for the District by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and apparently also mailed directly to local news media. After reviewing the information provided and conversations with appropriate school officials, the District is committed to following the parameters set forth in the First Amendment, and the court decisions interpreting the First Amendment, relating to both the establishment of religion and student’s rights to exercise their freedom of religion. We believe that our coaches have an understanding of those guidelines and will abide by them.”

Fetch Your News will have more details as they become available

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

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Dawson County Jr. High student charged with making terroristic threats

News

Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – An unidentified 15-year-old student at Dawson County Junior High School was taken into custody Friday (Aug. 10) morning, charged with making terroristic threats and one count of transmitting a public alarm.

Dawson County School System Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said via email today the threat was reported Thursday afternoon and the student was immediately removed from the school

Following an investigation by the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office the student was arrested.

Gibbs issued the following statement, “The Dawson County School System takes all threats seriously and, as always, the safety of our students is our top priority. I want to thank Sheriff (Jeff) Johnson and his staff for acting quickly and handling the situation professionally. The school system will deal with the student per the Code of Conduct to ensure the ongoing safety of our student body.”

Fetch Your News will have more information as this story develops.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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UPDATE: Fatal school bus accident

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GAINESVILLE, Ga. – A rain-soaked highway and a hydroplaning vehicle that slammed into a Hall County school bus Wednesday caused the death of a 13-year-old Dawsonville girl and serious injuries to her father and young brother.

That is the assessment of Sgt. Auston Allen of the Georgia State Patrol who investigated the incident.

A 1995 Ford Mustang driven by 33-year-old Lonnie Anderson, of Dawsonville, was traveling south on Thompson Bridge Road near Rufus Bryant Road when it hit standing water on the roadway, rotated counter-clockwise and struck the left side of the bus with the Mustang’s right side.

Lonnie Anderson and 12-year-old Zachary Anderson were seriously injured and 13-year-old Summer Anderson was killed. All three are from Dawsonville. Summer Anderson was a student at Dawson County Middle School. Zachary Anderson is a student at Kilough Elementary School.

Lonnie Anderson was transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC). Zachary Anderson was transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Allen said the 19 students on the school bus reported various injuries and were transported to NGMC for evaluation.

Charges are pending against Lonnie Anderson, “based upon the seriousness of his medical condition,” Allen said.

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs expressed his sympathy to the Anderson family and friends and added that members of the school system’s Crisis Response Team are available to meet with students individually and in groups.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

 

 

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One student killed, 20 injured in school bus crash

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — A Dawson County teenager was killed this morning and 20 students injured when a passenger car ran head-on into a Hall County school bus on Thompson Bridge Road in Hall County.

The deceased student has been identified as Summer Faith Anderson, 13, a seventh-grader at Dawson County Middle School who was in the passenger car. An unidentified fifth-grader at Kilough Elementary School was also injured and transported to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Multiple injuries were reported to the passengers on the school bus which was transporting students to Mount Vernon Elementary. They were taken to Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville.

The accident occurred on Thompson Bridge Road near Yellow Creek Road.

Georgia State Patrol is investigating. No other details are available at this time. Fetch Your News will provide further details when they become available.

In a formal statement to parent, guardians and staff, School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said: “I am writing with great sadness to inform you that one of our students, Summer Anderson, was in an automobile accident this morning and has passed away. Our thoughts and sympathies are with Summer’s family and friends.

“Members of our Crisis Response Team are available to meet with students individually and in groups today as well as over the coming days and weeks. Please contact the school office if you feel your child is in need of additional assistance; we have a list of school and community mental health resources.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYN attracts 300,000+ page views per month, 3.5 million impressions per month and approximately 15,000 viewers per week on FYNTV.com and up to 60,000 Facebook page reach. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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Chemical spill reported in Dawsonville’s Flat Creek

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials are on the scene of a chemical spill this morning (March 23) at Flat Creek behind Robinson Elementary School.

According to a city of Dawsonville press release, the spill of ferric chloride took place Tuesday, March 20, when a 55-gallon drum ruptured at the Gold Creek Food facility. City Manager Bob Bolz said, “We were never notified.”

Bolz said the city discovered the spill two days later when city Utility Department personnel noticed discolored water in Flat Creek. On closer examination, they noticed dead fish and other aquatic life.

City officials immediately contacted Environmental Management Services, the city’s contracted company for environmental testing services. A PH test was applied, which showed the water to be very acidic. The company then notified DNR, which deployed both a fishery biologist of the Wildlife Resources Division and a representative of the Environmental Protection Division Hazardous Response Team.
The incident is under investigation by DNR.

According to the city’s press release, “Environmental Management Services has assured the city that there is no risk to drinking water.”

Dawson County School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said it is safe for students to attend Robinson Elementary School today, but they would remain indoors through recess to ensure no one gets into the creek, which flows behind the school.

City personnel notified all appropriate county departments of the spill.

The city’s press release also stated, “Gold Creek Foods, at the direction of EPD Hazardous Response Team personnel, began clean-up efforts utilizing Hulsey Environmental Services Thursday evening.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Commissioners will consider additional school resource officer funding

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Increased safety for schools and school children will be on the agenda when the Dawson County Board of Commissioners meets in a Thursday work session starting at 4 p.m.

Dawson County Sheriff Jeff Johnson is expected to request additional funding for three additional school resource officers (SROs). Currently, SROs also must vacate their primary responsibilities to handle traffic direction responsibilities. Johnson says current staffing levels do not allow for this function to be the patrol component.

School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs indicated at a recent school safety meeting, the Board of Education will support two additional SRO positions and share the cost of traffic control.

Johnson will also seek a parade permit to allow for its first Sheriff’s Office Ride for Relay event to benefit Relay for Life. If approved, the 51-motorcycle ride event will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 9 a.m. until noon. It would begin and end at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.

Planning and Development Director Jason Streetman will provide the annul amended update to the 2017 Capital Improvements Element as part of the county’s consideration of an impact fee program.

Commissioners will also consider:

⦁ An upgrade of the part-time Magistrate Court clerk position to full-time;

⦁ A salary increase request for the Magistrate Court clerk earning Georgia Information Crime Center Certification;

⦁ A presentation of fiscal year 2018 Homeland Security Grant Program Application for Emergency Services’ K9 Search & Rescue Team;

⦁ A presentation of a resolution for Senior Center 2018 Community Development Block Grant;

⦁ A presentation of a request to write off an old debt for ambulance billing;

⦁ A presentation of a proposed revised alcohol ordinance; and

⦁ Nominations for appointment to the Tax Assessors board and Tree Preservation committee.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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School board approves non-resident students on split vote

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A divided Dawson County School Board approved a policy Monday that allows non-resident students from grades kindergarten through fifth grade to attend Dawson County Schools if they pay $1,200 tuition.

School Board members Elaine Wilson and Roger Slaton voted against the policy. Will Wade and Doris Cook voted in favor of it. Chairwoman Karen Armstrong cast the deciding “yes” vote.

In opposing the policy, Wilson said, “l have heard some concern from the community about this because we did bring it up once before and did not pass it. Now we’re bringing it up again. In my heart of hearts, I don’t feel right voting for it. I was elected to serve the people of Dawson County not some other counties. The money we generate in Dawson County should go to Dawson County students.”

 

The board unanimously approved:

·       An addendum to the Apple master lease for Phase III of the 1:1 rollout for grades 10 through 12 to be signed by Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs;

·       A contract for construction management services with Carroll Daniel Construction for the construction of the Dawson County High School (DCHS) College and Career Academy, DCHS interior renovations, and the completion of the unfinished classrooms at DCMS; and

·       Per Diem in the amount of $200 for Elaine Wilson to attend the Georgia School Board Association Director Meeting March 9 and 10 in Lawrenceville.

Much of Monday’s meeting was dedicated to recognizing outstanding academic and athletic achievements of students and staff.

Among  those honored were:

·       All-state chorus members Maggie Wright and Jonathan Matthews;

·       2018 Star Student Marley Hamby and Star Teacher Laura Hendrix;

·       The Dawson County Junior High School (DCJHS) boys basketball team that finished 10-2 overall and 8-0 in the Mountain League and won the North Georgia League Championship;

·       The DCHS girls basketball team that qualified for the state tournament for an unprecedented sixth straight season;

·       The DCHS boys basketball team that finished fourth in Region 7AAA;

·       Members of the DCHS wrestling team who qualified for the state tournament, including Wyatt Smith, Levi Baggett, Jake Williams, Nate Umberger, Kelton LeBaron and Brandon Jones; and

·       The Robinson Elementary School Perennial Math Team where the fourth and fifth grade teams won their division and third graders finished third.

The board also recognized the contributions of the school system’s maintenance and custodial staff before going into executive session.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Robinson Elementary School Perennial Math Team

Star Student Marley Hamby, center, and Star Teacher Laura Hendrix, right.

All-State Chorus members Jonathan Matthews and Maggie Wright.

 

 

 

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Dawson school safety workshop set Mar. 8

News

Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Following the Feb. 14 shooting death of 17 students and faculty at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and multiple threats of shootings in Dawson, White, Hall, Forsyth and Gwinnett counties recently, high schools are doubling down on their efforts to provide a safe, secure environment for students.

The Dawson County School District will host an informational workshop at Thursday, March 8, at 6 p.m. at Dawson County Junior High School, 109 Allen Street, where students, parents and concerned community members can learn about the current safety procedures in place in the school system and make recommendations about how to improve those procedures.

School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs will provide a general presentation to outline current procedures. Following that, those in attendance will participate in breakout discussions. Each school will have a classroom assigned so parents can voice their concerns, make recommendations and meet with the leadership of their child’s school.

Representatives from the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Department and other first responders are expected to be in attendance.

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Dawson County Junior High student arrested

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A 13-year-old Dawson County Junior High School student remains in custody today after being charged with making a terroristic threat on social media.

Dawson County School System Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said, via a Facebook post, that officials learned of the threat and notified the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office who took the student into custody on Wednesday.

“The Dawson County School System takes all threats seriously and, as always, the safety of our students is our top priority,” Gibbs stated. “I want to thank Sheriff (Jeff) Johnson and his staff for acting quickly and handling the situation professionally.”

Gibbs said the school system will deal with the student per its code of conduct once the criminal charge has been addressed.

On the sheriff’s Facebook page, Johnson urged citizens to continue to report crime.

“We are continually encouraged to see that our students are being mature, responsible peers who are acting to report these issues. It will only be through a collective and concerted effort, that we will realize greater success,” Johnson stated.

This is the second time in two weeks a Dawson County student has been charged with making a violent threat against a school. In February, a 17-year-old Dawsonville High School student was charged with making a terroristic threat.

 

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Crash claims life of Dawson County High student

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Elizabeth Sheer

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – A two-vehicle accident on Hwy. 53 near Buddy Burt Road claimed the life of 18-year-old Grace Elizabeth Sheer Monday morning.

Sheer was a senior at Dawson County High School and the 2017 Homecoming Queen.

A Georgia State Patrol incident report indicated she was driving a 2002 Honda CR-V west on Hwy. 53 shortly before 8 a.m. At the same time, a 2017 Peterbilt tractor trailer, driven by Edwin Thomas Kincannon Jr., was traveling east on Hwy. 53.

Sheer failed to negotiate the curve in the road, over-corrected to the left and lost control of her vehicle. The vehicle then began to rotate counterclockwise and crossed the center line. Sheer’s vehicle entered the eastbound lane of Hwy. 53 and was struck in the passenger side of the vehicle by the front of the tractor trailer.

Sheer’s Honda traveled off the south shoulder, struck an embankment with the rear of the vehicle and came to an uncontrolled final rest facing east on the south shoulder of Hwy. 53. The tractor trailer came to a final rest with the front of the vehicle in the westbound lane of Hwy. 53, while the trailer came to a rest in the eastbound lane.

Kincannon, 42, of Cartersville, was not injured in the crash. Both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

The Dawson County School Board observed a moment of silence in memory of Sheer at Monday’s meeting. School Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs said the school’s crisis response team is available to meet with students who need help to cope with the tragedy, and he asked those in attendance to remember Sheer family members in their prayers.

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

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Hall County YMCA to Provide After School Care

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Supt. Dr. Damon Gibbs

DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – In an early-morning meeting today, the Dawson County Board of Education voted unanimously to allow Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs to sign an agreement with the Hall County YMCA to provide after school care for Dawson County students for the 2017-18 school year.

Commissioners approved per diem for school board members Doris Cook, Karen Armstrong, Elaine Wilson, Roger Slaton and William Wade who attended various events and provided services on behalf of Dawson County Schools.

They also approved an overnight trip for Dawson County High School basketball and football cheerleaders to the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Ga. where they will stay in a UWG dormitory. The cost per student is $300.

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School Board Reviews CCRPI Performance at First 2017 Meeting

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DAWSONVILLE, Ga. — Dawson County Director of Teaching and Learning Nicole LeCave shared FY16 College and Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) results when the Board of Education met in a work session Tuesday.

In discussing the county’s elementary schools, LeCave said, all elementary schools scored above the state score. Riverview Elementary increased its score from 69.1 in 2013 to 91.7 in 2016 and earned all 40 progress points for the second year in a row. “That is phenomenal,” she said. Blacks Mill increased its score by 6.2 points from last year.

At the middle school level, LeCave pointed out that both middle schools scored above the state score and that the district middle school score is well above state average. She also said that both middle schools earned more achievement points in FY16 than in FY15 and ranked in the Top 5 in RESA district for achievement points.

Dawson County High School scored above state score, earned more achievement points in FY16 than in FY15 and ranked in the Top 5 in RESA district for achievement points.

She also pointed out that the Progress and Achievement Gap is a concern at all levels.

Superintendent Dr. Damon Gibbs was pleased with the results, but expressed frustration in the timing of the release of the information from the state.

“This really speaks about why districts beg the state to give us this data in a more timely manner. We need to be doing this in August and September instead of the middle of a school year. We need to be looking more at trends than a snapshot.”

Jamie Ulrich, Executive Director of Financial Services presented the financial report and eSPLOST report for the month of December.

The Board also discussed approval of a position guide for Chief Operations Officer, Warehouse Courier and Routing Assistant before going into executive session to discuss personnel matters.

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