Paulding students met or exceeded state standards in 27 of 30 content areas in the criterion-referenced competency test given to all Georgia public school students in grades three through eight in 2014, compared to only 18 content areas in 2010, Superintendent Cliff Cole told the Paulding Business Association.
“Our teachers, administrators and school staff have done an awesome job,” Cole said.
This school year is the first since 2009 in which the Paulding County School District did not reduce teachers or give its staff furlough days, he said.
The district also has not purchased new volumes of textbooks in any course since 2007, instead replacing individual books as they wear out.
The system employs 3,339, including 1,991 certified educators, and is the largest single employer in Paulding County. Its enrollment grew by about 100 students and will see about 28,539 students this year, Cole said.
Its recently approved 2014-15 general fund budget totaling $221 million was a 5 percent increase from the previous year. It received about a 4 percent increase in state funding but saw a 6.6 percent drop in funds from an annual state equalization grant given to school systems with lower tax bases, Cole said.
The school board also approved a property tax rate of 18.879 mills, unchanged from 2013-14, to fund the local portion of the budget.
The nationwide education agency AdvanceEd recently reaccredited the Paulding school system for another five years, Cole said.
Accreditation provides such benefits as easing transfer of credits between schools, while loss of accreditation can put a school system’s graduates at risk of being ineligible for a variety of loans and scholarships, such as HOPE.
The agency in recent years withdrew its accreditation of Clayton County schools and put DeKalb County schools on probation, mainly based on complaints some school board members ignored their proper roles of being solely policy-makers and interfered with day-to-day operations, which is the role of system administrators.
AdvanceEd said Paulding schools’ board was managing the system properly and “clearly engages in a systematic, inclusive and comprehensive process for assuring high expectations for learning,” an agency official said in March.
However, it also said Paulding needed to upgrade its technology infrastructure and implement a strategy which uses its current equipment. As a result, the system replaced computer hardware, upgraded software and established a wireless access point in every school for this academic year, Cole said.
The superintendent asked business association members to consider using its students in positions that could help them gain real-world experience — such as provided by the county district attorney’s office — to help them prepare for careers.
“We’re always looking for internships,” Cole said.