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Morning headlines: Jefferson City, Oconee County schools score high on statewide tests

Oconee County Schools logo

The results from the spring testing session for the Georgia Milestones have been released with Oconee County and Jefferson City School systems generally placing at the top in the greater Athens area.

Clarke County schools were the lowest in the area and below the state average. Clarke County Schools did see gains in the number of students taking the tests.

The assessment is made up of end-of-course and end-of-grade tests for all students across the state with some tests given in both the winter and spring and others at the end of the year.

TSPLOST returns to Oconee ballot

Oconee County voters can expect to see a Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax back on the ballot in Oconee County after it failed last year.

The Oconee Enterprise reports county commissioners voted this week to bring the issue back before voters. The TSPLOST would increase the county’s sales tax from 7 to 8 percent, but commissioners have pledged to decrease the property tax by one mill if voters approve the measure in a referendum this November.

If the TSPLOST passes, the tax will go into effect on April 1st, 2023. The tax has been estimated to raise $71 million to be used for transportation purposes. The next Board of Commissioners Town Hall event takes place August 23rd at 6pm at the Oconee County Civic Center.

Athens arts summit kicks off tonight

Artists and creatives in Athens are invited to an informational Arts Summit starting Friday evening.

The Morton Theatre is hosting the two-day event. Arts Summit 2022 features keynote speaker Charmaine Minniefield tonight and a day of sessions Saturday to help artists in their financial endeavors.

The summit kicks off Friday evening at the Morton Theatre at 6:30 and continues Saturday at 10 am.

Oconee school board approves new, lower tax rate

The Oconee County Board of Education approved a millage rate of 15.5, which is a compromise between a tentative rate of 16.25 and a rate of 14.8, a number being pushed by several citizens.

That lower number represented a rate that would have resulted in no increase in property taxes. Property values have risen in the county to the point that the original rate proposed by the board amounted to a 10 percent increase in property taxes.

Oconee County’s chief tax appraiser says there’s plenty of demand for houses in the county, and little supply which generally equates to higher prices.

The new rate is the lowest approved by Oconee County school since the turn of the century.

Jackson Sheriff to retire next year

Jackson County Sheriff Janis Mangum says December 31st of next year will be her final day on the job.

Mangum, who is only the second female sheriff in Georgia’s history, has served as sheriff since she was first elected in 2012. She was also the first female deputy assigned to road patrol in Jackson County by former Sheriff Stan Evans.

She began her career as a dispatcher and will have a total of 39 years in law enforcement when she retires. Mangum has been extremely popular as a sheriff, winning reelection with 87 percent of the vote in 2016 and 89 percent in 2020.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!
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