GAINESVILLE – Readying Hall County’s newest high school for its debut continues to proceed on schedule according to leaders at the school district office. Cherokee Bluff High School will be ready to open its doors and welcome students in August.
The roster of faculty, administration and staff is fleshing out; new equipment and supplies have been ordered; the existing building now serving as the home of Flowery Branch High School is undergoing some modification for the changeover; there is even a new CBHS website up and running.
That leaves determining the student body, particularly upperclassmen and women, as a “work-in-process”.
School Superintendent Will Schofield said at Monday’s school board work session that having juniors and seniors at the new school is not turning out as district leaders expected.
“From the beginning what we had said was…current seniors at Johnson High School or at Flowery Branch High School that are districted to Cherokee Bluff could choose to stay…and graduate and finish their senior year where they had begun,” Schofield told board members.
Schofield said in a straw poll recently taken among students falling into that classification, “85-percent of existing (students) said, ‘We’d like to stay where we are.’”
“That’s nice for school loyalty, but what that does to our ability to be able to offer courses at the upper level for juniors and/or seniors at Cherokee Bluff makes it almost impossible and overcrowds Johnson High School and Flowery Branch High School by somewhere between 100 and 200 students per school.”
“We didn’t think that would quite be a 85-15; we thought it would be more of a 50-50, folks wanting to try a new school,” Schofield explained.
Schofield said he foresees that “seniors go wherever they like and juniors on down…as there are seats available we’ll have a fair way for individuals” to request the school of their choice.
Schofield said as the senior class is determined “sibling rules” would take effect. “We have always gone out of our way to try and not have parents with students at the same school level have to go to two different schools. “It’ll be the sibling rule for 9th, 10th and 11th graders only.”
Schofield said affected families should expect information regarding school choice being sent to their addresses on record in the near future.