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Cherokee Schools Reach Milestone

The district anticipated a peak enrollment of 38,925. Wednesday, they got a surprise.

For the first time, student enrollment in the has topped 39,000.

On the sixth day of school Wednesday, enrollment reached 39,039. The school system estimated that the number would peak at 38,925 this year.

"Our increasing enrollment is further evidence that more families are learning about the top-notch public school system we have here and making the choice to enroll their children with us," district spokeswoman Barbara Jacoby said in an email.

Jacoby said the "as opposed to further depleting reserves in order to balance the 2012-13 School Year budget puts the School District in a better position to deal with these and other costs associated with higher-than-anticipated enrollment."

The growth in the district coincides with the launch of , an initiative intended to expand school choice options in the county.

Four elementary schools, Ball Ground, , Clark Creek and Holly Springs, opened last Wednesday as science, technology, engineering and mathematics academies. Two schools,  and Oak Grove, opened as fine arts academies.

"As the School District nears enrollment of 40,000," Jacoby said, "it also means we have a large enough student population to offer additional specialized academic programs ... like the Cherokee Academies initiative ... and future phases of it."

By the Numbers

  • Day 6 count: 39,039 students
  • Number of students who enrolled in the Cherokee County School District on Wednesday: 47
  • Number of students who have enrolled since the first day of school: 817
  • Projected peak enrollment: 38,925

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Susan Tlacil August 09, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Barbara Jacoby is living in a dream world.  More students doesnt mean people are deciding to enroll their kids because our schools are so outstanding.  That is pure opinion.  Poll the people please Rodney and show a balanced article.  my kids attend because I cant afford private and I spend hours on at home education teaching actual history and reteaching the "science" curriculum" as well as pushing the teachers to challange in math.  And also...does this nunber include the nearly 1000 at CCA?  Further, Barbara says furlough days are better than depleting the reserves? While I agree using reserve money is not a good option, how about cutting back spending instead of decreasing the days available for teachers to educate? When do we start putting kids over teacher salary, fancy facilities and a bloated super salary?
nick August 09, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Reserves are to be used in an emergency. If the choice is 8 furlough days or the reserve fund, I vote the reserve fund. Jacoby states that since their enrollment is so high, they can now offer more benefits - how does that work? Have all the budgetary problems magically gone away since enrollment is up? She may just be the messenger, but she could have a career as a fiction novelist.
Frank Jones August 09, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I agree with Nick that reserves are needed and should be maintained for emergencies. I believe that the state or bond companies may even require schools to maintain a certain level of reserves. In contrast with Ms. Tlacil, I believe that our CCSD schools are doing a good job and that people do decide to live in Cherokee County because of our schools. Granted, there are issues and our schools aren't "perfect", but as a whole, they are above average in our state and across the country. Ms. Tlacil has issues with the school curriculum and spends hours at home teaching ACTUAL history and reteaching the "science" curriculum. I'm curious as to what FALSE history our schools teach and why Ms. Tlacil infers that science isn't being taught. Please enlighten us. Lastly, I agree with Ms. Tlacil that we should start putting kids first by having a full school year. But that takes money! In contrast with Ms. Tlacil, you can't just cut, cut, cut. Sometimes you need additional funds but the state is withholding money and property owners don't want to pay extra. She implies that there is a lot of bloat in the budget but there isn't (read it and compare to other counties). We could cut teacher and administrative salaries and require them to teach the full year but how many of them would quit? How many of you would quit if your employer said, "I'm cutting your pay and you have to work more days"? Let's solve the problem by demanding that the Gold Dome fully fund schools!
Jim Beam August 10, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I'm tired of the lie that this is all the fault of the Gold Dome. The Gold Dome's contributions have increased since 2010. According to this: http://www.cherokee.k12.ga.us/Documents/AnnualReport.pdf the State contributed $152M in 2010 and $154M in 2011. According to this: http://canton-ga.patch.com/articles/july-25-five-things State revenue for 2012-12 is $179M Last I checked, $179M is a $25M INCREASE from last year's $154M, Frank. The Gold Dome has INCREASED educational spending every year since 2010. Our Property taxes just got raised AGAIN to bump Local spending up. Yet it's not enough for our superintendent, who now threatens parents with picking up extra costs next year! Why not fund the teachers and classrooms (busing, food, etc) 100%...and then pay Admin with what's left over? I've known many, many great teachers in CCSD and not a damn one of 'em needs Dr. P and his assorted, overpaid admin staff telling them how to do their job. Frankly (no pun intended), most would do a better job of teaching if there were LESS Admin. Heck, in your private-sector lives...how many of your jobs get BETTER with more managers/admin oversight? I'd guess Zero. Fund the Teachers FIRST. Fund the Admins LAST. If this means firing some unnecessary overhead, so be it. Look around - times are tough and we're in agreement that our kids should be first priority of educational spending..NOT Admins.
KELLI August 10, 2012 at 02:22 AM
I agree... Enrollment could mean many things, like moving to a more rural area to keep their kids from being criminals or being subject to criminals.... etc., etc. I've noticed that with every year that goes by - the crime is building ALOT... I'm very concerned about this terrible trend....
KELLI August 10, 2012 at 02:25 AM
And - those furlough days are hitting families budgets real hard (they have doubled for this year, will they triple next year?).... and, that's not right...
Terry Tucker August 10, 2012 at 01:35 PM
I agree with Steely Dan. That was very hard to type. Admin (not school based) salaries are bloated. Compare our org chart to Cobb and then check salaries. We pay more in a smaller district. Cherokee has great schools because we have a lot of educated and involved parents.
Phil McCall August 10, 2012 at 01:37 PM
According to this link http://www.cherokee.k12.ga.us/Pages/Welcome.aspx under "Financial State of the District" page 6; "86% of the CCSD Operating/General Fund budget is expended on Employee Salaries and Benefits...". That leaves 14% for new text books and new buses in existing schools, maintenance on existing schools, utilities & insurance on existing & SPLOST facilities, etc. The options are limited and point to more taxes as we build more facilities that require more teachers, more buses, more utilities, etc. The more we build under ESPLOST the more M&O will be strained. Frankly [no pun intended], I'd like the supt. to layout EXACTLY how he would spend the additional tax money in a budget document. A lot of the argument would evaporate if he were to show us exactly how we would spend the money. As of now, we hear we are underfunded - but no exact amount of how much is needed. We are told how much local dropped, and how much the State is not providing, and a passing comment about Stimulus going away, - but no answer on how much is required. We do not hear how the money would be spent. Lastly, if CCSD wants more support for raising taxes the supt. should also show us what will improve or stay status quo if we give more taxes. Until we know how more money would be spent and what we gain - the majority of the tax payers will not support more taxation.
Frank Jones August 10, 2012 at 05:58 PM
@Terry...I know it's tough to agree with Steely as he's usually off-the-wall. However, I've reviewed Cobb's and Cherokee's personnel expenses (2011) by title and find that Admin in Cherokee is better, for instance: Asst Superintendent: Cherokee 7@$108,695 ($761K) vs. Cobb 11@$116,462 (1.3M) Dir. of Curriculum: Cherokee 2@$105,866 ($212K) vs. Cobb 8@$89,110 ($713K) Food Svc Admin: Cherokee 3@81,883 ($245K) vs. Cobb 11@$72916 ($802K) Transport. Dir.: Cherokee 3 at $260K vs Cobb 17 at $1 million Superintendent: Cherokee $225,953 vs Cobb $259,805 (above numbers and counts based upon Open.Georgia.gov website, 2011 data) Factoring in the relative school sizes, Cherokee appears to be doing better.
Jim Beam August 10, 2012 at 07:04 PM
And that's the problem with Frank Jones and his ilk: A concerned taxpayer like me desiring real fiscal conservatism is considered "off the wall". Frank,would you care to retract your oft-told, tired LIE that the "Gold Dome" is cutting funding even though all evidence points to the contrary? The State has increased Ed. funding every year since 2010, including a $25M increase this year. And why do we need 7 assistant superintendents making $116K each? Why is a "Food Service Admin" making $80K?? Why does our Superintendent need a $600/month vehicle allowance? Comparisons to Cobb are invalid since Cobb embraces the Charter school movement whereas Cherokee BOE and superintendent hate Charter schools, parents, and children attending them. You know what's off-the-wall? Our superintendent threatening to "transferring more costs to parents" in 2013 the day before their property taxes were increased. But to Frank Jones and crew, we're all supposed to just keep quiet, open our wallets, insist on no accountability whatsoever and be happy with mediocre results. Now THAT is off-the-wall.
Frank Jones August 11, 2012 at 03:49 PM
@Steely...There is a difference between fiscal conservatism and fiscally smart. Unfortunately, too many fiscal conservatives don't understand economics, finance, budgets, and employment issues. And as such, I stand by my claim that you're "off the wall". So let's address my "LIES" and address your lies as well. First, the state has underfunded CCSD based upon QBE by $83.1 million in years 2010-2012. $26.6 million in 2012 alone. The Gold Dome has increased the State's total school funding recently, however, the state's recommended budget for 2013 of $7.168 billion is $1.851 billion less than it was in 2007. Further, the state has had education budget DECREASES every year from 2007 through 2012. As to your claim that the state increased funding by $25 million this year, I have to ask, which year -- 2011/12 or 2012/13. Either way, the CCSD budget does not show that increase. Instead, the 2011/12 budget shows an increase of only $14.5 million while 2012/13 shows a small decrease. As to "Why we need 7 Asst. Superintendents?" it's because Asst. Superintendents are like business Vice Presidents. These people are in charge of functional areas/departments like: finance (CFO), technology (CIO), school operations, personnel, etc. And why do we pay them "So Much"? It's because that's the market price, or even below-market price, for these positions. If you want to argue your point, bring facts and knowledge. Don't argue "Your Beliefs".
No More Bullies August 13, 2012 at 10:56 AM
The county board of commissioners raising the millage rate has nothing to do with the school district. and yes, Cobb does have charter schools. They approved several Imagine schools which have since closed and left town. The Charter friendly Cobb School Board also voted down the Charter Schools USA standard template application three times, including in June 2011 when it was voted down on the consent agenda. In charter friendly Cobb, with a population three times that of Cherokee, not a single person came to speak on behalf of the CSUSA petition. Not one.

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