Highlights of meeting on February 14, 2016
Garry opened the meeting by introducing Northern Judicial District Attorney, Parks White. Parks advised attendees of his candidacy for re-election and gave a brief accounting of the accomplishments, prosecution rate, and resolution of open cases during the past three years. He welcomed everyone to attend his official “kick-off event” on March 08 and responded to questions.
Board Member, Mike Buckel, reported on the Corps of Engineers official suspension of their January 01, 2016, regulation revoking residential water withdrawals by Lake Hartwell property owners. He acknowledged the prompt response and work by by U.S. Representative Doug Collins pressuring the Corps to reverse this ruling. Mike concluded his update with the introduction of our next speaker, Mr. Steve Zemaitis.
Mr. Zemaitis, parent of a Hart High School Junior, discussed points from his recent presentation before the Hart Board of Education. As all parents want the best educational opportunities for their children, he shared his concerns on advancement placement classes offered to high performing students.
His assessment is that advanced placement classes are not preparing Hart students to achieve sufficiently high SAT test scores and they are not prepared for education at major universities such as Georgia Tech or Clemson. He feels Hart County High School AP classes are considered “as practice” for college. Steve based his conclusions on a comparison of Hart students’ SAT scores on reading, math and writing against the higher Georgia average and those of students entering local Anderson and Emmanuel colleges as well as those entering Clemson, UGA and Georgia Tech. The lower Hart student score of 1,338 indicates weakness in the high school college preparatory program and is a disservice to our students. He concluded his presentation by responding to member questions.
Our final speaker, Dwayne Dye, Director of Economic Development for the Hart County Industrial Building Authority, began by recapping the economic development of the last 10 years in the county. The purpose of the Industrial Building Authority is to recruit advanced manufacturing jobs that require skilled labor and an educated work force with suitable employee skills and work ethics. He advised the quality of industries coming to Hart County are raising the bar on employment opportunities and skills within the county. This is reflected in an increase of average wages by 17%. The Authority is continuing to recruit diversified industries and develop a desirable and growing base of career opportunities for Hart residents. A lively question and answer period followed and Dwayne concluded by advising the last 10 years have been personally rewarding to him to help grow the Hart County industrial base.