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Enrollment Surpasses 38K on Cherokee's First Day of School

Last year, 410 fewer students enrolled on the first day.

The began the 2012-13 School Year on August 1, 2012 and, as in the past, first-day operations were extremely well-planned, smooth and successful.

Enrollment reached 38,222 on Aug. 1 at CCSD’s 42 schools, according to preliminary attendance reports. The School District anticipates enrollment will continue to rise over the course of the school year… with first-day enrollment 410 students higher than last year.

The School District’s 4,500 employees, including more than 2,300 teachers, are now back at work on CCSD campuses and support facilities throughout Cherokee County; and the School District’s fleet of 350 buses began their daily transport of approximately 70 percent of the student population through 1,500 daily bus routes.

Today was also opening day for the School District’s newest campuses, Clark Creek Elementary School and the replacement Ball Ground Elementary School. Clark Creek ES on Hunt Road off Highway 92 in southwest Cherokee County welcomed 873 students for the first day of classes. With 135,000 square feet of space, this facility helped to relieve overcrowding at Boston and Oak Grove Elementary Schools and was designed to eventually accommodate 1,250 students. The new/replacement Ball Ground ES on Valley Street in downtown Ball Ground welcomed 525 students for the first day of classes. With 146,000 square feet of space, this facility replaced the existing campus, which was too small and outdated, and with the capacity for 1,200 students, the school will serve the northwest Cherokee County area as it continues to see population growth. Construction on these two projects was funded using Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) revenues.

The start of this school year also marked the launch of the first phase of CCSD’s Cherokee Academies initiative, which increases academic choice within the School District. Four schools, Ball Ground ES, , Clark Creek ES and Holly Springs ES, opened as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Academies; and two schools, ES and Oak Grove ES, opened as Fine Arts Academies. Two of the School District’s existing options for academic choice have undergone name changes: CrossRoads MS/HS is now ACE (Alternative Choices in Education) Academy, and Polaris Evening School is now Polaris Evening Program.

Policies related to environmental/temperature concerns are being followed at all campuses, including: limiting the time students spend on school buses, allowing students to bring bottled water on school buses; and following guidelines for rescheduling and cancelling outdoor athletic/band/extra-curricular activities, when necessary, due to high temperatures. 

“Our successful opening day today is evidence of the consistent dedication by CCSD staff to ensure that all of our students experience a positive school year in a safe environment so they can excel academically beginning on day one,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo.

As Clark Creek ES Principal Dr. Jennifer Scrivner observed: “It went fabulously well. Students were very excited and thankful for a new school building, and we heard lots of positive comments from parents, especially about our assembly with falconer Buster Brown bringing a redhawk, our mascot, to the school.”

KELLI August 02, 2012 at 02:09 PM
...According to those parents caught in traffic jams (on county roads) trying to pick-up their children - after school... It was NO picnic and things didn't run smoothly at all !!!
Holly J August 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
And this is the same drill every day on the first day of school and for several days after. Traffic is a nightmare because parents won't put their kids on the bus, for whatever reason. It's not like the schools or the county office are deliberately creating headaches.
Cindy August 02, 2012 at 06:23 PM
I disagree. I had to go pick up my kids because if they took the bus thy have to wait for third load and we live 2 miles from the school. Totally unacceptable! Traffic will continue to be a mess until they fix the bus routes.
Holly J August 02, 2012 at 08:15 PM
The bus routes will more than likely be tweaked as the first weeks go, but remember, too, that among the cost cutting measures were reductions in buses and drivers, so some routes may never be reasonable. Thank your State Rep and Senator.
Phil McCall August 02, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Holly J - Wrong rabbit to chase. The BOE and the Supt. administer funding from Federal, State and local taxation. All 3 have less taxes coming in to be distributed back out. Therefore Georgia allows and ENCOURAGES local control of how tax money is spent. The Federal, State and BOE did NOT make or tell the Supt. where to make bus route changes. The Supt. recommended a budget on where to best spend money. He could have chosen more buses or different routes at the expense of other M&O choices. We are where we are because of our local decisions. In the past the Supt. has done pretty well at straightening out the first 2 weeks worth of busing - because it is local control. Dr. P is overall responsible as the manager of the school system. Transportation falls under Dr. Hightower's domain. I've linked the org chart so folks will know who to contact with issues. http://portal.cherokee.k12.ga.us/superintendent/Pages/OrganizationalChart.aspx
Maggie Katopis August 03, 2012 at 12:42 AM
My daughter's enthusiasm for this schoolyear has been effectively extinguished by the first two days of "school". Apparently all they have done for two days is go over rules, regs, fill her full of fear and worry. Even I was daunted and puzzled by the amazing amount of documents, contracts, legalese syllabi that were sent home for both she and I to sign. My goodness, do they really think she understands what she is signing or what signing it means? Whatever they've told her, she is sufficiently now frightened of what lies ahead in each and every class....and now, I am too somewhat. I am puzzled as to why they would welcome these children to their new school with two days of this? And I wonder if tomorrow, they'll ask about how her summer went? And I am worried about how much homework they will have everyday, for she tells me a lot, and even on Fridays! Anyone else's kid bothered by no sunlight all day? She says her eyes hurt when she emerges from the building to go home on the bus. Did they not consider that maybe kids need sunlight when they built it? When I was in 6th grade, we still had recess, and played outside after lunch, had PE outside, but didn't dress out until 7th, and never did I sign contracts and documents and I didn't see a syllabus until the University!
Terry Tucker August 03, 2012 at 04:02 AM
buses picking kids up that live a mile or less from school... no wonder we have budget issues and out of shape kids. How about walking or ride a bike? That would call for infrastructure and a focus on fitness... 2 things GA is not known for.
Holly J August 03, 2012 at 10:30 AM
I did not say those people directed the transportation cuts. Let me be more clear- our state Legislature has for years now continued to cut the money counties receive for education, leading to the "local" decisions about where to cut the budget- furlough days, fewer buses and routes, and so on. Ultimately, yes, it our Legislature's responsibility as defined in the GA Constitution.
Holly J August 03, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Terry, I agree. A thousand years ago when I was in school, you didn't get bus service unless you lived at least 2 miles from the school. Now, between traffic/lack of sake walkways and the litigious nature of our society, the schools are afraid to encourage walking to school. There is a neighborhood directly behind my son's school and a bus goes in there. Those kids are told NOT to walk because there is no sidewalk up the hill to the school and no crossing guard to get them across the carpool line.
Phil McCall August 03, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Dear Holly J - Please point to the Article and Section in the Georgia Constitution you cite in your note making the legislature ultimately responsible for cuts resulting in school transportation reductions. Why not condemn the Feds & BOE for lack of funding & only focus on one taxing authority? Sole focus on the State when taxes come from local, & Fed does not make sense. School district data http://www.cherokee.k12.ga.us/Pages/Welcome.aspx "Financial State of the District" page 5 table shows Cherokee County received $147 million from the State in 2009, and $149 million in 2011-2012. That is not a cut in funding. More students - yes, but CCSD insurance cost jumped $2.6 million this year, alone. Closely reading the document you will see that 59% of CCSD come from local taxation, and that the tax digest dropped in CC 16% or $1.2 BILLION since 2009, resulting in less local school tax revenues. The document mentions in passing the impact of Fed stimulus dollars drying up, but without a doubt stimulus is a major hole to fill in the budget. If you truly believe the CCSD is underfunded why expect a Congress that has not passed a budget, or a legislature that will not pass a budget until March 2013 to provide funding now. Look to your local Board of Education member and ask them to call a meeting to raise your property taxes to be "revenue neutral" like the BOC did. The BOE has the power to raise millage rates next week if you believe we are under taxed.
Holly J August 03, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Per a recent AJC article: " For the first time in 16 years, local governments paid a higher share of the cost of public education than state governments. In 2010, Georgia’s public schools received about 38 percent of their funding from the state, with local government paying about 48 percent. Federal and private sources accounted for the rest, according to the census report. In the past, the split has been about 55 state and 45 local." The Feds are not the funding issue. Federal money goes to earmarked programs like Title 1 schools. State budget allocations and local property taxes fund almost 90% of school budgets. As the state has continually cut its funding- to the tune of $26 million to CCSD this year alone- and local tax digests have fallen due to the economic downturn, the BOE has less money to work with and more students to educate. Thus, the cuts in services- from furlough days to buses. The Georgia General Assembly is the one cutting the funds. I'm sure you know this and I can't understand why you are deliberately not understanding the point I am making. I am NOT saying they are dictating where the cuts happen or that they are ultimately responsible for school transportation. What I AM saying is that they are ultimately responsible for ADEQUATELY FUNDING education- and they are not holding up their end of the deal.

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