The Cherokee County School Board on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018, purchased land for a replacement Canton Elementary School, the construction of which will be included in the 2021 Education Special Local Option Sales Tax renewal proposal.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said the purchase of 63 acres on the east side of Reinhardt College Parkway (Highway 140) 2.8 miles north of the Riverstone Parkway/Waleska Road intersection for $26,000 an acre is a promise kept by him and the School Board.
“When we decided one year ago to allow Cherokee High School to expand into the Canton Elementary School campus, we made the commitment to build a new Canton Elementary as soon as possible,” Dr. Hightower said, noting how difficult the decision was to close the high-performing and beloved school. “The School Board’s unanimous approval of this purchase is the first step toward keeping that promise. The next will be asking the voters in 2021 to renew our 1-percent sales tax so we can build it. Acquiring affordable land in the Riverstone corridor posed a challenge, and I greatly appreciate the work by our staff and the property owner’s support to make this purchase possible.”
Another goal set by Dr. Hightower for the 2021 Ed SPLOST proposal list will be an additional high school and middle school to relieve overcrowding in the Cherokee and Creekview Innovation Zones; the site purchased Thursday is not large enough for this purpose, but CCSD does own suitable parcels both in Ball Ground and Sutallee.
The School Board on Thursday also approved 2018-19 School Improvement Plans, which are blueprints outlining how each CCSD school will achieve two three-year SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) goals targeting improved student achievement. These plans align with the School District’s overall Five-Year Strategic Plan and the School Board’s Major System Priorities.
The School Board additionally approved a contract with Sports Turf Company, Inc. for $133,467 to build a replacement for the outdated track at Creekview High School, and set the date for CCSD’s annual surplus auction. The auction, which is open to the public, begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10, at the CCSD Central Warehouse (201 Mountain Brook Court, Canton). The sale preview starts at 8 a.m., and a list of items for sale is posted on CCSD’s website.
During its Strategic Work Session, the School Board heard presentations from staff including an update from Support Services that, based on the school housing report analysis showing no CCSD schools are “critically overcrowded,” that no changes to school boundaries are planned for next school year.
“All of the students are staying put – we’re not going to have to redistrict anyone, and that’s always good news,” School Board Chair Kyla Cromer said.
The School Board also heard reports on STEM-based learning in middle schools; a districtwide project to create digital courses for all high school core classes; the annual update of the Five-Year Strategic Plan and planned improvements to increase community engagement; and a review of legislative issues in preparation for setting its Legislative Partnership Program to share with the Legislative Delegation later this fall.
The School Board also:
• Recognized CCSD high school seniors named 2019 National Merit Semifinalists;
• Recognized Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy as a Microsoft Showcase School;
• Recognized four CCSD educators for winning statewide awards presented by the Georgia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance;
• Recognized the CCSD School Nutrition Program for winning the Georgia Golden Radish Award - Platinum Level;
• Recognized Woodstock High School junior Laney Broussard upon her selection for the 2019 Harvard Debate Council;
• Recognized four CCSD students named to the State School Superintendent’s 2018-19 Student Advisory Council;
• Recognized winners in the districtwide Fire Safety Contest;
• Recognized Sequoyah High School teacher Matt Bartula as winner of the 2018 Yale Educator Award;
• Approved the renewal of the Partnership Agreement with Elm Street Cultural Arts Village;
• Approved monthly financial reports;
• Approved out-of-state travel and out-of-state and overnight field trips;
• Approved the monthly capital outlay projects report;
• Approved special lease agreements; and,
• Approved monthly human resources recommendations.
Next meeting: 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018