Friday, September 19, 2008

TOP STORY > >Academies get support from council

Leader staff writer

For the second time in two meetings, the Jacksonville City Council passed a resolution supporting charter schools, and for the second time a number of aldermen questioned whether or not it would impact Jacksonville’s efforts to get its own school district.

The Pulaski County Special School District, in its board meeting earlier this month, voted unanimously to allow Jacksonville to proceed with its efforts to break away from the county district. But that vote was just one of many hurdles the city must clear before it truly has its own district.

At the council meeting Thursday night, the aldermen approved a resolution supporting the efforts of the citizen group wanting to open the Jacksonville Charter Academy in the old Wal-Mart building on North First Street. The state will only approve seven charter schools this year and two of the 11 applicants are trying to open facilities in Jacksonville.

The resolution states that the city “expresses its support for the creation of a charter school in our community by Jacksonville Charter Academy. It is the council’s belief that such an enhanced educational facility will work in conjunction with an independent school districtfor Jacksonville to obtain improved educational facilities and opportunities for our community’s youth.

The school will be for students in kindergarten through sixth grade and will house no more than 700 students.

Alderman Terry Sansing called a charter school in Jacksonville a win-win situation. “Citizens want to see improvements now, and this is a way to do that,” he said.

In other council business

The city engineer issued his monthly report, stating that his department issued 18 building permits and 10 business licenses during August. The department also performed more than 200 inspections , issued 272 warning letters for property having unkempt yards and mowed 31 lawns In August that were in violation of city codes.

Public Works director Jim Oakley, in his monthly animal shelter report, said the shelter received 109 dogs and 62 cats during August. The department returned 18 dogs to their owners, adopted out 42 dogs and 18 cats and euthanized 61 dogs and 44 cats in August.

There were two biting or attack incidents reported. A pit bull mix bit another person. The bite required medical attention and the dog was put to sleep. The other bite was a mixed breed dog biting its owner. That bite also needed medical attention.

In his monthly report to the council, Fire Chief John Vander-hoof told the council that his department had 116 rescue calls,
36 still alarms, 11 general alarms and 197 ambulance runs during August.

The estimated fire los for the month was $25,700, while fire savings, based on the quick response of the department, was estimated at $583,000.