Cephus Jackson, Ph.D., chief operations director with Clayton County Public Schools, said the student population for the entire school system after the traditional 10-day count was 52,300.
However, with transfers coming in from other school districts in and outside of the state which might not start their school year until after Labor Day, he believes the count will rise.
“We are gaining students who are returning as well as new students,” he said, referring to the exodus of students when Clayton County Public Schools lost its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, accreditation in 2008 before fully earning it back in 2011.
In addition, this year began the school system with 450 school busses which, Jackson said, were carrying more than 28,000 students daily.
Although the school system did not conduct its usual program of having school and county officials plus parent volunteers officially welcome students back on the first of class Aug. 12 due to security measures, most of the were in school that first day as 98 percent of the school buses were on the road, Jackson said.
Being that his motto is, “the better you get, the better I expect you to be,” Jackson said, despite things going well to start the school year, improvements can always be made.
With a smooth start to the school year having been achieved, Jackson said school officials now turn their attention to the upcoming special purpose local option sales tax vote in 2015.
“The SPLOST that we are working under now will expire in December of 2014,” Jackson said.
“We are in the process of developing our five-year plan for the next SPLOST vote and getting our SPLOST committee together so we can put a plan to the voters they will pass that will assist us for an additional five years.” he said.
Although the next SPLOST plan is still being developed, Jackson said it will evolve around the continuing effort to upgrade county schools, especially from a student security standpoint.
“We are putting in better security cameras in our schools,” he said.
Another major objective of the school system is constructing corridors in schools where the gymnasium area is in a separate, detached facility and not attached to the main school building.
“Student and staff safety continues to be the highest priority of Clayton County Public Schools,” Jackson said, highlighting the development of the system’s own school police force which presently has more than 22 school resources officers who are specifically trained to work with school children.
Jackson said when he joined the school system, Clayton County Police Department personnel were fulfilling the duties of school resource officers, followed by the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department.