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Rome NAACP hears racism concerns of Coosa High parents, looking for response from Floyd County school system

Coosa High School parents are looking for more action from Floyd County Board of Education members and administrators to address incidents involving racial harassment at the school.

Many of their complaints stem from incidents that took place last year and earlier this school year. Videos circulating on social media last week reignited frustrations.

Students had planned to host a protest at the school Friday but were swiftly shut down by Principal Judson Cox, and the law enforcement presence was increased on campus.

The Rome NAACP held a community meeting Saturday that drew about 15 to 20 adults. Second Vice President Charles Love said they’re just gathering information for now — listening to parents before they move forward with any action. Right now, they don’t know what kind of action they might take.

The group had already sent a letter, on March 24, citing some complaints by students and parents to the Floyd County school system’s superintendent, Glenn White. Love said they didn’t receive any response — from either White or school board members.

Jessica Murray, who has two daughters at CHS, talked about some of the harassment her daughters have faced from both students and teachers. She said one of her daughters was called a racial epithet by a teacher and was told she was violating dress code by wearing a shirt picturing George Floyd. The handcuffed man died slowly in front of a horrified crowd in May 2020 with a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on his neck.

"They said she was violating dress code by causing a disruption in class and it was offending other students," Murray said. "The issue with the Confederate flag, students could be waving that flag across the campus ... but nothing happened."

Murray said she has tried reaching out to school board members and White, but she has gotten little to no response so far.

"I sent Mr. Cox the evidence and the only response I got back was 'I've received your email,'" she said. "I have reached out to Students Affairs at the board of education, pleading to speak with the superintendent about how I don't feel like my issues at the school are being handled properly."

Other parents present said they have run into similar issues with the administration and seen very little action taken to defend their children.

"I'm new to the area, my daughter started going to Coosa, and just (Friday), there was an incident on the bus where someone was saying the n-word and calling her different names," said Nico Woods. "When she asked him what gave him the right to call her that, he said he had the n-word pass."

He said he knows about other incidents with kids going on in the community.

"My concern here is that these people are not replying back, even the ones taking the proper procedures to address the situation," he said.

Several said their kids seem to receive harsher punishment than some white students at the school for the same infractions. However, NAACP President Sara Dahlice Malone pointed out that they can’t know that for sure, since punishments would be confidential.

The NAACP is asking anyone with concerns about racial disparities or harassment at Coosa or other local high schools to contact them by email at RomeNaacp@yahoo.com.

Uncle Shuffelo and His Haint Hollow Hootenanny finish out their set at Fiddlin Fest Saturday in Downtown Rome. Fiddlin Fest featured live bluegrass music, local craft vendors and a vintage car show.

Anna Herbert, 13, and her brother J.T. Herbert, 2, dance to The Steed Brothers at Fiddlin Fest Saturday in Downtown Rome.

Felly Faver dances with her granddaugther Halston Faver at Fiddlin Fest Saturday.

State tax collections robust in September

ATLANTA — Across-the-board increases in tax collections fueled a 30.2% jump in state tax revenues last month over September of last year, the Georgia Department of Revenue reported Friday.

In a sure sign of continued economic growth, individual income taxes were up 13.2%, driven up by a huge increase in tax return payments of 88.1% coupled with a 17% decline in tax refunds.

With Georgia’s economy fully reopened by last month, net sales tax collections soared by 104.8% compared to September 2020, when the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic was being felt to a much greater degree.

Corporate tax receipts also rose substantially, by 50.4%, despite a large increase in refunds issued by the revenue agency.

With a lot more Georgians driving last month than in September of last year, motor fuel tax collections by 9.1%.

During the first three months of the current fiscal year, state tax receipts rose by 14.6% over the first quarter of fiscal 2021.

The robust start to fiscal 2022 comes after the state closed out the last fiscal year at the end of June with a $3.7 billion surplus.

Those healthy finances likely will prompt Republican legislative leaders in the General Assembly to push for finishing the two-stage income tax cut they promised in 2018. Democrats argue the state can afford to spend more on health care and education after a period of austerity during the early stages of the pandemic.

The 2022 session of the General Assembly begins in January.

New laws affect city elections; voting starts Tuesday in Rome & Cave Spring

Voters in Cave Spring and the city of Rome start casting their ballots Tuesday for the Nov. 2 elections that will decide local government and school board representatives.

Early in-person voting runs through Oct. 29. A new state law narrows the time to request an absentee-by-mail ballot. Oct. 22 is the last day the elections office can send them.

All seven Rome City Board of Education seats will be filled from a field of nine candidates.

Political newcomers Tracy McDew, Pascha Burge and Ron Roach are in the mix along with incumbents Faith Collins, Jill Fisher, Melissa Davis, Will Byington, Alvin Jackson and John Uldrick. Each Rome voter can select up to seven.

Three of the nine Rome City Commission seats are on the ballot and six candidates are vying for a spot.

Two incumbents, Jamie Doss and Randy Quick, are running for reelection. Elaina Beeman, Victor Hixon, Tyrone Holland and LuGina Brown also are seeking a seat. Voters can mark up to three of them on the ballot.

In Cave Spring, three of the five City Council seats are on the ballot as separate races and each incumbent has a challenger.

Post 3 pits Jason West against incumbent Nellie McCain. Post 4 is Stacey Royston versus incumbent Charles Jackson. Post 5 is Steven Pierce or incumbent Nancy Fricks. All eligible Cave Spring voters can pick one in each contest.

Georgia voters can check their eligibility, representatives and other information on the secretary of state’s Georgia My Voter Page website.

Cave Spring City Clerk Judy Dickinson is elections supervisor for her city. Early voting is open during the week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at City Hall, 10 Georgia Ave. Saturday voting will be available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 16 and 23.

Rome elections are conducted through a contract with the Floyd County Elections Department, 12 E. Fourth Ave. It will be open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week; from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16 and 23; and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 24.

A second early voting location, at the Rome Civic Center on Jackson Hill, opens Oct. 18. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — including the weekend — through Oct. 29.

Rome voters by mail must ensure their ballots are returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day. Those who prefer to hand-carry them can put them in the drop box in the county elections office during business hours. A new state law allows just one drop box per county, inside a monitored location.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2. Cave Spring voters cast ballots at their city hall. Rome voters go to their assigned precincts. The Mount Alto North precinct has been moved from the church to Anthony Recreation Center, 2901 Garden Lakes Blvd.

Forbes ranks Berry among top colleges

Forbes has named Berry College No. 249 among private colleges in the nation based on student outcomes, alumni salary, student debt and a number of other factors.

“Berry consistently attracts students and faculty who embrace our mission, which encourages academic excellence through intellectual exploration as well as practical learning experiences and spiritual growth,” said Berry Vice President for Enrollment Management Andrew Bressette.

The Forbes Top Colleges list chooses a slice of America’s colleges and universities, just 600 four-year schools drawn from the nearly 2,700 such degree-granting institutions in the U.S.

Berry was ranked No. 469 nationally.

This year’s ranking used a new methodology that better evaluates net price after scholarships, counts low-income student outcomes and incorporates the earnings of graduates as part of the evaluation of each school.

At Berry, 97% of students receive financial aid, the student to professor ratio is 11:1 and 99% of ranked faculty hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree.

Fiddlin Fest saw nothing but sunshine Saturday, as opposed to last year when it poured rain, and parts of Broad Street were closed to traffic to make way for pedestrians and vendors.

A trio practices their own bluegrass music on the sidewalk at Fiddlin Fest Saturday afternoon in Downtown Rome.