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Students trickling into county schools

ALBANY, Ga. -- Debate continues to swirl regarding the Live Body Count of students in the Dougherty County School System.

Board of Education members were provided another update on the issue at Monday night's meeting during its board briefing at the district's Administration Building.

Enrollment has increased from 12,421 students on the first day of school to 15,864 as of Sept. 7.

Monroe Comprehensive High enrollment has risen from 907 to 1,216, Albany High's increased from 482 to 783, Westover Comprehensive High went from 1,014 to 1,220 and Dougherty Comprehensive jumped from 642 to 790. Southside Middle increased from 306 to 417, South Georgia Regional Achievement Center increased from 170 to 296 and Radium Middle from 532 to 653.

Not counted in the figures were the 67 additional students that Superintendent Joshua Murfree said enrolled in the school system after the Labor Day holiday. Murfree noted that students hailed from Texas, New York, Indiana and Lee County. Murfree said the post-holiday figures will be released to the School Board Thursday.

"We picked up 25 percent more students from the first five weeks of the school year," Board Chairman David Maschke said. "That's amazing to me. I don't know how the teachers do that. Twenty-five percent of the students come in over the course of the first five weeks of school."

Board member Michael Windom then asked about class size.

"Classes are generally at about 25 students," Murfree said.

However, due to the large influx of late-arriving students, Curriculum and Instruction Department Executive Director Dianne Daniels said there were some classes for a short period of time that had as many as 34 students.

"Right now, we're working to balance those numbers out (as students continue to come into our schools)," she said.

After its 37-minute executive session to discuss personnel matters, the School Board started its scheduled 7 p.m. meeting at 7:33 p.m. Kimberly Thompson was voted 7-0 as the new assistant principal at Radium Springs Middle School. Thompson moves from being the school's band director. She has been with the DCSS since 2002.

The board also unanimously approved the adoption of a Tax Anticipation Note of $11.5 million to Morgan Keegan with a net interest rate of 0.806 percent.

Early in the meeting, Westover 2010 graduate Alisa Moody had her art selected to be permanently displayed at the Administration Building. Her mother, Michele Jones, accepted the honor for Alisa as she is now attending Santa Fe Community College's fine arts program in Gainesville, Fla.

Chick-fil-A Outside Sales Director Lawrence Knighton informed the board of the company's plans to have its first Southwest Georgia Rising Leaders Rally at Darton College in November. The event will invite up and coming leaders from the DCSS and other students from neighboring counties to participate in hands-on workshops with area businesses, colleges and universities and provide opportunities for round table and panel discussions with top guest speakers.