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BOE takes a look at career academy
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The Effingham County Board of Education discussed a recent visit to Newnan to view the career academy in place there Thursday.

Board officials visited the Central Education Center, a joint venture of the Coweta County Schools, West Central Technical College and Newnan-area businesses and industries. Effingham schools Superintendent Randy Shearouse said that’s something the board is looking at for its system.

“We do have a committee that is studying the career academy,” he said. “We’re looking at moving forward with that and just wanted to hear some input from the board as to what you thought about the career academy.”

Board members remarked on the enthusiasm of educators and the success of the program.

“I thought it was very impressive,” BOE Chairperson Vera Jones said. “Each and every administrator and teacher. Everybody showed such enthusiasm.”

Jones said she likes the idea of a program that allows students to gain a technical degree and be able to move from high school to a good paying job when they graduate.

“That would be a reason for them to stay in school and not drop out,” she said.

Shearouse said he also thought it would be a good program to help keep students from dropping out of school.

Board member Lamar Allen said the academy was more than he expected, and he is looking forward to duplicating the program in Effingham.

Board member James Dasher said he was impressed with the placement rate of students into jobs upon graduation.

The board is currently working to receive funding for a charter career academy in Effingham.

Shearouse went to a meeting in Macon to set up guidelines for a career academy and met with a representative of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle’s office to discuss funding.

“They’re still looking at five different areas to fund at $3 million each,” he said. “We’ll know more about that as we move into the fall. They are looking at having the money available by 2008 if not before.

“They’re real excited about it. They feel this is not a one-time budget item. They feel this is going to be an item they have year after year. They want a lot of systems to submit applications.”

Shearouse said he has not been given any indication that Effingham will be chosen as a location for a career academy, but he thinks the county could be.

“I feel like we have the right ingredients in place with the technical college moving in our county and also the availability to build right next to the campus,” he said.

He told the board the system will offer classes at the technical college next year though they will not be part of a career academy, and there will be more vocational classes offered at the high schools.