On December 22, 1896, an Act was approved by the General Assembly of Georgia, authorizing the municipal authorities of Calhoun to levy a tax for establishing and maintaining a public school system for the town, and constituting of Board of Education composed of F.A.Cantrell, W.G. Fuller, T.W. Harbin, W.L. Himes, W.R. Rankin Sr., and O.N. Starr. This Act was ratified by the voters of Calhoun September 14, 1901.
An Act approved by the General Assembly December 16, 1901, permitted the transference of the old school property, corner of Fain Street and College Avenue, to the mayor and aldermen of Calhoun and their successors for public school purposes, and the buildings were erected on this site.
The tax levy for maintenance was fixed at $1.50 a thousand; superintendent’s salary, $80.00 per month; teachers’ salaries, from $25 to $35 a month; janitor’s hire, $4.50 monthly. Teachers were required to take 10 weeks of normal training in a summer school. Tuition fees for non-resident students ranged from $1 to $3. The school was divided into three departments: Primary, composed of first, second, and third grades; Grammar, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; and High School, eighth and ninth grades. Two grades were assigned to each teacher. A course of study covering nine grades was arranged, teachers were chosen, and the public school, at that time the town’s most ambitious venture, was inaugurated in September 1902, with an enrollment of 155 pupils.
The Golden Age of the school’s development was 1916-1927 under the superintendentcy of M.C. Allen, at which time literary standards and physical equipment attained to the requirements of the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges, entitling graduates of the high school to enter any college or university in the South without examination.
One hundred and three years later, we open our schools to more than 3094 students and we project our enrollment to be more than 5550 students by the year 2020. Twenty four percent of our students are Hispanic, 7% black, 66% white, and approximately 1% of our students are multiracial, Asian or Native American. Twenty-nine percent of our student population are non-resident students which conveys the message that we are a school system of choice. Eleven percent of our students participate in special education programs and we are proud to share that our Special Education Department was recognized by the Georgia Department of Education as a leader in the state for their outstanding efforts to improve the performance of students with disabilities.
The large influx of Hispanic immigrants to our area has naturally resulted in a large number of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) students. Nine percent of our students participate in ESOL services and while these teachers are all exceptional, one was selected at Georgia’s ESOL Teacher of the Year. Six percent of our students participate in EIP (Early Intervention Program) through mainly self contained delivery methods of instruction. The percentage of students receiving free and/or reduced lunches continues to increase with a system average of 48%.
Our school family continues to grow with more than 220 certified teachers and staff members and approximately 200 support staff members. More than 1200 students are transported daily via school buses and we’ve added three new buses to our fleet.
Everyday our cafeteria workers prepare more than 2300 school lunches. Our technology department maintains more than 700 computers in our school system with added capabilities within our schools and via the Internet for support both at home and at school. All of our schools have updated safety and emergency preparedness plans so that we can continue to provide the finest and safest education possible for our students. We continue to engage the many businesses in our community while having more than 23 businesses as active members of our Partners in Education Program.
Our Facilities are changing as well. A new softball field has been completed across from the Calhoun Middle School campus at Bernstein Park. The practice gymnasium at Calhoun High School has earned a new roof. During the summer of 2004, several transitions were made across the school system. Our system’s board of education / central office building was relocated from the West Line Street location to the former Eastside Primary Building on Barrett Road. They share this facility with our Pre-K program. The Calhoun Educational Complex which houses the primary and elementary school was completed in the fall of 2004. Calhoun Middle School moved off of the high school campus to the former elementary school campus on the corner of River and Pine Streets which left our high school with its original campus with several additions over the past several years. Many athletic and extracurricular facility enhancements have been made over the past several years and we are proud of what we have to offer our students, recognizing that as we grow, we must prepare for future expansions and construction. We continue to grow to fit our community’s needs to accommodate growth. Maintenance and operations planning includes facility enhancements.
Our vision for Calhoun City Schools is to ensure that all of our students are not only meeting state standards by the year 2020 but exceeding them as we continue to inspire all students to become life-long learners in the pursuit of excellence.