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Student Migration

By: April Douglas
By: April Douglas

Opportunity Scholarships are available to students in schools that have made a grade "F" two of the last four years.

This is the first year the scholarships are available at the elementary level.

A new school year in Leon County, ushers in a new start for Paula Miller's children.

They're crossing the Jefferson County line to attend Chaires Elementary School on an Opportunity Scholarship.

"Nervous but excited, my kids were real excited. Hard getting over there but willing to make the sacrifice," Miller explains.

Paula Miller's kids aren't alone. Nearly 50 students from Jefferson County make the trek across the county border for class.

"Parents worked really hard to get them here. Met deadlines, so a lot of parental support," says Chaires Elementary School Principal Christi Moss.

Yet, for every student that leaves Jefferson County, the district looses $3,700.

Leon County gains that money along with the student.

But not everyone is happy with the program.

"Parents don't pay taxes in Leon County. Some may consider that a burden, but it is the law and we aren't going to make any exceptions. And we don't isolate them,” says Leon County Schools Supt. Bill Montford.

The migrating students are integrated into classes throughout the school.

Including Paula's students, who are thankful for the opportunity.

There was some concern that because of students migrating from other counties to attend Leon County schools that portables were being used to house the growing population.

School officials say the main reason portables are in use, is to meet the voter approved class size reduction. Students from Gadsden County are taking advantage of the Opportunity Scholarship.

As far as numbers Ruediger Elementary gained eight students this year, Wesson gained three.


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