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Douglas County schools to open with 300 new students
by Tom Spigolon
tspigolon@neighbornewspapers.com
July 30, 2013 05:40 PM | 1549 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye<br>From left, Greg Smith, electrical foreman from Buck’s Electric Co., and Steve Nicholson of Ra-Lin and Associates look over some construction plans during the renovation of Arbor Station Elementary School last week.
Staff / Katherine Frye
From left, Greg Smith, electrical foreman from Buck’s Electric Co., and Steve Nicholson of Ra-Lin and Associates look over some construction plans during the renovation of Arbor Station Elementary School last week.
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The Douglas County School System is looking forward to about 300 new students this year as the 15th largest school system in Georgia prepares for the 2013-14 school year.

Officials are anticipating about a 1 percent enrollment increase this year – from about 25,100 last year to about 25,400 this year, said Superintendent Gordon Pritz.

“It’s always an exciting time of year,” he said.

When they begin classes Aug. 7, students will see one new principal, seven new assistant principals and 130 new teachers, Pritz said.

This year also marks the first time in three years the school system was not forced to cut positions, he said.

Principal turnover was low compared to last school year when seven new principals began the 2012-13 year.

The only new principal is Angela Carter at Factory Shoals Middle School, who was promoted from assistant principal after two years in the position.

The 34-school system is the largest employer in Douglas County with about 3,500 employees, including 1,800 teachers.

Total renovations were done at Arbor Station and Dorsett Shoals elementary schools.

This year will also mark the first year of a fine arts magnet program at New Manchester High School – allowing students zoned for any county high school to attend New Manchester full time in a manner similar to the International Baccalaureate program at Douglas County High School.

About 75 students are taking advantage of the opportunity to attend the program, which focuses on visual and performing arts, Pritz said.

Douglas County School Board chairwoman Janet Kelley said she said she looked forward to “the continued improvement in academic success” in the coming year.

Last year the school system improved in 23 out 30of CRCT tested areas and six out of seven End of Course Test tested areas, she noted.

The board also recently voted to keep its maintenance and operations millage rate at 19.85 and lower its school bonds millage rate from 2.1 to 1.8 after it used funds from a 2011 special purpose local option sales tax for some savings.

“Thanks to our community voting for SPLOST, we lowered the bond millage rate for the second year and passed a budget with no job losses, maintaining our fine arts programs and keeping the 180-day school year intact,” Kelley said.
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