Troup County schools have seen an increase in population and free and reduced lunches served since last year, with fewer schools meeting school board-set socioeconomic and diversity goals.
The Board of Education had set a target for individual elementary schools to stay within 15 percent of their respective zone’s average for socioeconomic factors – students on free or reduced lunch – and diversity – the percentage of minority students. Shanitra Ransom, coordinator for the Office of Student Assignment, said any school that is 15 percent above or below the zone average in either category failed to meet that goal.
The Troup County School System is divided into three school zones: Callaway, LaGrange and Troup.
Last year, seven schools failed to meet that goal, up from six the previous year. This year, eight schools fell short.
Hogansville Elementary School was the only school to not meet a goal in the Callaway school zone, with 85.6 percent of students receiving free or reduced lunches, above the zone average of 70.3 percent. The school met the ethnicity goal.
In the LaGrange zone, Hillcrest Elementary School was below the zone average of 53.2 percent minority students with a 32.1 percent minority population. Unity Elementary School was high in both free and reduced lunch and diversity goals, and also had the highest percentage in both categories for the school system with 94.2 percent of students on free and reduced lunch, compared to a 62.1 percent zone average, and a 92.7 percent minority population.
No elementary schools in the Troup schools zone – Berta Weathersbee, Whitesville Road, West Point, Long Cane and Rosemont – met goals.
“The spectrum is wide there due to the wide geographic area that the zone encompasses, so all of their schools are at the plus or minus rate due to various factors,” Ransom said.
The zone averaged 65.1 percent of students on free and reduced lunch with 44.4 percent minority students. Berta Weathersbee, Whitesville Road and West Point elementary schools all were above the average in both goals while Long Cane and Rosemont elementary schools were below the zone averages.
“Overall our system is up 364 students from last year with a 2.2 percent (increase) in free and reduced lunch, and about the same (percentage as last year) in minority population,” Ransom told the school board.
In another matter, Chief Human Resources Officer Sequita Freeman presented a status of the school system’s current employment showing that the school system is operating with fewer employees since 2008. This year, there are 1,838 employees – which includes 998 certified and 840 classified employees – compared 1,925 total employees last year, 2,012 employees in 2010, 2,011 employees in 2009 and 1,953 employees in 2008.
“Concluding from your report compared to Miss Ransom’s report, our personnel have declined while our student enrollment has increased,” Board of Education chairman John Darden said. “I’m not sure what that means in the long run.”
Freeman responded: “That means we’re being efficient with our funding that we’re receiving.”