Living On State Line Causes Problems For Local Mother

       Sherry Bell is at a crossroads, literally. Her mailing address is in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. But the physical residence she shares with her uncle just a few hundred yards away, is in Georgia.
       "One you turn at that street where the mailboxes are, that’s Georgia, and on the other side where the mailboxes are at is Tennessee," said Bell.
       "They have a Tennessee mailing address, but according to the tax commissioner, they live in Dade County," added Dade County Superintendent of Schools Cherie Swader.
       Without a job, Bell’s situation has left her without a vehicle. The closest Georgia school is over 30 minutes away, and the closest bus stop is nine miles away.
       "Georgia won’t come out here because they say it’s 9 miles out of their bus route. If I drive him up the mountain they would pick him up at the state line. I explained to her I don’t have a vehicle, I can’t do that."
        South Pittsburg is less than 15 minutes away, but because they technically live in Georgia, they’d have to pay out of state tuition to Marion County, which comes out to 75 hundred dollars.
        "It would make more sense because South Pittsburg is 15 minutes down the road. What do I do? I can’t afford 75 hundred dollars and I don’t have a vehicle to drive him up the mountain in. It was 75 hundred dollars, they wouldn’t negotiate and that was 75 hundred dollars, that’s it that’s all," said Bell.
        The Dade County school system continues to work with Bell, but they can’t get around the 75 hundred dollar price tag to attend Marion County schools…
        "We are doing what we can. I want to get the child in school. Because he does live in Georgia, Tennessee doesn’t have an obligation to him. What we are working on right now is to see if there is anything any other resources that we have that we could possibly utilize," said Swader.
        For now, Bell is left with few options, and her son continues to miss valuable time in the classroom.
        "I’ve called the U.S. Department of Education and they told me it was on the local level, there was nothing they could do about it. My only option here is to go to a homeless shelter so my kid can go to school. Take him out of a home and stay somewhere like that, because I guess they won’t budge on the price."
        Bell says home schooling has been offered as an option, but they can’t afford internet service at her location.

Categories: Local News