MACON, Ga. — Steve Norris' children began kindergarten at ACE four years ago.
"An overwhelming majority of the parents here at ACE reside in Bibb County, which means their children reside in Bibb County," Norris said.
He wasn't happy to find out that Bibb SPLOST proceeds would no longer go toward the school.
"ACE was on the first ballot. Why are we not good enough to be on the second ballot?" he said.
Governing Board Chairman Witt Gaither says as long as they serve Bibb County students, they should receive their share of SPLOST money.
Gaither said, "1,770 kids attend ACE. The vast majority of them are Bibb County school children. All of them are a part of the public school program. The fact that it's a commission school instead of a local school in my opinion is neither here nor there. The child is driving the fact that they should be beneficiaries of the SPLOST."
Bibb County Superintendent Curtis Jones says the district has a thorough process in deciding where ESPLOST money goes.
"One of the things we do is go to the Georgia Department of Education, they reviewed all of our facilities. They gave us recommendations for what they thought needed to be done. They gave us prioritization for what that process would look like. We haven't done that with ACE," Jones said.
Jones says they informed both Cirrus Academy and ACE what would change once they became state charter schools.
"I feel uncomfortable making a recommendation to give monies for a situation that I have not been able to investigate, to be able to say I'm doing it based upon what the needs are. That's my responsibility," Jones said.
Gaither says ACE got about $1.5 million from the current SPLOST.
If they're cut out of the next one, they'll have to pull from their general budget to cover maintenance and technology upgrades.
ACE wasn't always a state commissioned charter school. It was originally a local charter school, authorized by the Bibb Board of Education.
This year ACE chose to break up with the school district. So starting in July, they answer to the State Charter School Commission.
So what does that mean for the academy? The major difference is how ACE receives its money.
They went from receiving about $12 million a year as a locally approved charter to more than $15 million as a state charter.
The change allowed students from other counties to apply to ACE, .and that means more state funding.
Last year, they received about $7,300 combined from the county and the state for each student.
This year, they're getting $9,000 per student, all from the state.
So they expect to lose $1.5 million in SPLOST money, but they've already picked up 3 million in state money.
On Tuesday, Bibb County voters will decide to continue the ESPLOST for another five years starting in January.
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