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School system likes combined summer efforts

McDuffie County School system officials had to pool their resources for summer school and the result may keep them above water for a while.

Because Thomson and Maxwell Elementary schools are being reorganized for the 07-08 school year, it was necessary to hold the summer program for both schools at the Norris Elementary facility. As a result, officials noticed a drop in expenses on staff salaries, electricity and transportation.

"So, having had to do that this year and realizing that it went well, and we saved money. ... We feel it's something we probably ought to do next year even though we don't have to. It would just be more efficient," said Barry O'Neill, the assistant superintendent in curriculum and instruction.

Housing three summer school programs at one facility was possible because summer enrollment is lower than in the past. Dr. O'Neill said the schools have other programs throughout the year, such as test prep classes and fall and winter break classes, which have increased the percentage of students being promoted before summer.

The school board approved the reorganization of grades at MES and TES last year. Both schools, located less than one mile apart, served students in pre-K through third grades. When school begins this fall, students in pre-K through first grade will attend Maxwell Elementary and second and third graders will go to Thomson Elementary. The faculty has been moving and setting up classrooms throughout the summer, forcing the summer programs to move to Norris Elementary.

In addition to summer school, Dr. O'Neill said the 21st Century programs have also been combined at NES. He said each school runs their programs separately, but they all share the same building. Dearing Elementary programs were not involved in the reorganization.

An evaluation form was completed by administrators and faculty that proved the shared facility was a success.

"That's my impression of how it went," Dr. O'Neill said. "So, we can do a favorable job more economically next summer like we did this summer."

Web posted on Thursday, July 12, 2007

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