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Site for alternative schools found
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Newton County's two alternative school sites have been selected and will open at the start of the school year.

Ombudsman will open alternative schools in the Publix shopping center on Brown Bridge Road and in the Johnny's Pizza shopping center on Covington ByPass.

The Newton County Board of Education chose Ombudsman as its alternative education provider earlier in the year and closed Sharp Alternative School. The move is expected to save the school system more than $1.9 million and allow the system to even costs out per student. During the 2010-11 school year, Sharp students cost the system around $23,000 a year versus the $7,000 spent on the average school system student.

Ombudsman's services will cost $1,24 million, which includes tuition for 60 middle school students and 140 high school students, along with transportation. Students will be referred to Ombudsman from their home school - just like Sharp - and will attend three-or-four-hour sessions five days a week, following the school system's 2011-12 calendar. About 70 percent of the curriculum is computerized and the other 30 percent involves teacher instruction and remediation. School staff will be made up of a director, special education teacher and three other instructors. Previous Sharp staff members are being offered preferential interviews.

Ombudsman is active in 25 school systems in Georgia.

The school system will not use the former Sharp building as a school this year.