About 40 minutes into a presentation from Troup County Schools Superintendent Cole Pugh, Hogansville City Council and residents of the town heard what they wanted to hear: Hogansville Elementary is not on the “chopping block” of proposed schools to be shuttered in the face of budget concerns.
“Hogansville is not in danger,” Pugh said. “In fact, it may be expanded” to accommodate more students as zones are redrawn, he said.
Councilman Jack Leidner invited Pugh to speak to the council at its regular meeting so residents and the council would be aware of the schools’ exact proposal, Leidner said. He said part of the reason businesses were locating in Meriwether Park – part of which is in the Hogansville city limit – is because of the quality of the schools.
Pugh did highlight areas where the school system has done well in recent years but outlined its budget challenges. The system needs to cut almost $4 million from its budget in the next year to make up for cuts from the state and rising costs. Most of the members of an advisory task force made up of students, staff, teachers and members of the community recommend the system come up with a long-term plan to cut costs rather than just get by for another year.
The long-term plan includes closing Unity Elementary School, which would save $1.1 million and coming up with a combo platter of other cuts to make up the rest.
The school system wants to redraw elementary school zones that outline where children would attend. Doing that would help create more definite areas and save transportation costs. Other options include cutting art and music programs, shortening the school calendar, cutting extension teachers and having more furlough days for students and staff.
Pugh invited residents to look at all the school systems proposals at www.troup.org and to attend two public hearings on the proposals.
The first hearing will be held 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 28 at Unity Elementary School, 525 Park Ave. The second will be 10:30 a.m. Feb. 4 at the Troup County School System Administrative Services building, 100 N. Davis Road, building C.
The school board should vote on a plan by late February.