The Muscogee County School Board’s unanimous vote to approve capital projects is ample evidence that those modifications and upgrades are indeed needed.
But maybe the most significant expenditure approved — also unanimously — at Monday’s meeting is the $70,000 for retrofitting a vacant wing at Jordan Vocational High School as a center providing special attention to autistic students.
The money is part of a $3.5 million line item approved in the 2015 SPLOST specifically to create such centers in one high school, a middle school and an elementary school. (The latter two have yet to be named.)
That does not mean, said special education director Mary Lewis, that autistic students can’t get help at every school, “but if I have two people who help students in every high school, two people can only be in so many places,” she told the board. These autism centers, of which Jordan will have the first, will serve these special-needs students with more individualized programs in a self-contained environment. The one at Jordan is expected to serve about 45-50 high school students at a time.
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“The difference will be that they will have the option to go where people will have more training and they can get more support,” Lewis said. “It’s a way to really combine our resources so we can help more students.”
One or two special-needs specialists at each school can indeed do only so much. Providing these students and their families with the option of classrooms designed specifically for their needs is money well spent.
Time for that later
The Internal Revenue Service is not an agency of government most of us associate with the tendency to give folks a break. But when the circumstances are this extraordinary, even the IRS wing of Uncle Sam’s massive office complex is willing to cut some slack.
Extraordinary circumstances would certainly include a hurricane, like the one named Matthew that just blasted coastal Georgia and other parts of the southern Atlantic seaboard. The slack comes in the form of a six-month extension on this month’s final deadline for returns and payments.
“Businesses and families in Coastal Georgia should be focused on rebuilding, not meeting arbitrary IRS deadlines,” U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R) of Savannah told the Savannah Morning News. “I appreciate the IRS honoring my request to extend this tax relief to our area and will work to ensure it is expanded to all areas damaged by Hurricane Matthew.”
The temporary tax “amnesty” is in effect for six coastal area counties, and the Morning News reports that others could be added to the list as FEMA and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency assess the damage.
Carter was right to seek this relief and IRS officials were right to see the moral imperative in granting it. The last thing people trying to put their homes and lives back together after disaster need to worry about is a tax deadline.