Student absences a growing concern for Elbert schools

By Linton Johnson

As of Monday, 107 Elbert County students had missed at least 11 days of classes so far during this school year, and 279 students had been absent for six to 10 days, Superintendent Chuck Bell reported to the Elbert County Board of Education. Bell was especially concerned that the system-wide number of students missing 11 or more days for the year had nearly tripled since his last monthly report to the board, while the number missing six to 10 days had risen 71 percent over the same period.

“That continues to be a work in progress for us,” Bell said. “This is clearly, and we’ve talked about it, and we’ll continue to talk about it, a great challenge for our school district. We have an action plan in place, but I can’t say the results are anywhere close where we want it to be.” On a school-by-school basis, Bell reported the number of students missing 11 or more days as follows: Elbert County Primary School, 13; Elbert County Elementary School, 12; Elbert County Middle School, 22; and Elbert County Comprehensive High School, 60. Those missing six to 10 days for each school were 42 at the primary school, 61 at the elementary school, 62 at the middle school and 114 at the high school.

In other business Monday, the superintendent told the board that the track project at Elbert County Middle School is on schedule for a groundbreaking in January, after its location was moved closer to Athens Tech Road as a cost-saving measure. From the school district’s financial report, Bell said he was encouraged by an increase in special purpose local option sales tax revenue of more than $16,000, or 10.1 percent, in October over the same month last year.

Kent Dye, a paraprofessional at Elbert County Comprehensive High School, was recognized as Classified Employee of the Month. The board also congratulated senior members of the high school’s JROTC Raiders teams for their recent accomplishments. The male team took the area and state championships and placed fourth in the national competition. The female team won the area title, and placed fourth in the state and sixth in the nation. Board members approved an overnight field trip request by the Elbert County Middle School band to participate in the University of Georgia Band Festival next month, an amended policy on school admissions and a new policy on non-resident students.

Board of Education congratulates JROTC Raiders team members.
(L-R) ECCHS Principal Jason Kouns, Classified Employee of the Month Kent Dye, School Superintendent Chuck Bell

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