Possible state budget cuts are keeping Hall County school officials on their toes.
Administrators have just started reviewing school populations to determine if it’s possible to close an elementary school as a way of reducing system expenditures, official said during Monday’s Hall County Board of Education meeting.
“If the economic picture doesn’t get any better, what people are going to start talking about is what programs are we going to get rid of and how we are going to spend less money. The knee-jerk reaction will be to get rid of programs, but we have to resist that,” Superintendent Will Schofield said.
“The real question is how can we do what we are doing more efficiently. The same way we closed a campus last year at the middle school level, we may have the same opportunity at (the) elementary school level. I think we have to be open to those possibilities in these economic times. If we have empty classrooms in a number of schools, closing an elementary may be $800,000 savings in personnel alone.”
Administrators also will not make staff recommendations for the upcoming school year until May, when they know more about the state budget picture, said Richard Hill, assistant superintendent of human resources.
At the meeting, school officials also discussed summer enrichment opportunities.
According to Eloise Barron, Hall County assistant superintendent, while tuition will remain the same for summer school, students will have more time to obtain the credits they need.
Summer school will be five weeks long this year, instead of four weeks. It also will include the e2020 online learning program.
“Students will not only be able to (use the program) in class, they will also be able to access it online 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Barron said.
The online availability of the class will allow interested students to complete coursework from home. If students register for summer school between April 30 and May 21, they qualify for the reduced, early registration tuition rate of $175. If students register on May 26 or 27, tuition is $200.
During the meeting, Barron also informed the board that due to participant feedback, the eXtreme eXperiences summer program has been extended to two weeks instead of one. The program is geared toward middle school students and allows them to learn about career fields including culinary arts, digital media, medicine and construction.