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Elementary schools leading Forsyth's enrollment growth

FORSYTH COUNTY — The Forsyth County Board of Education learned Thursday that system enrollment is nearly 200 students above projections at the halfway mark of the 2014-15 academic year, but most of those newcomers are in elementary school.

As of the fourth-month enrollment report, Superintendent Jeff Bearden said the district has grown to 42,466 students, or 184 more than expected.

Bearden added that the system’s high schools are under projections by 312 students, and middle schools are below by one.

According to Jennifer Caracciolo, spokeswoman for the district, the figures signify a trend of families with young children moving to Forsyth.

Superintendent Bearden also reviewed what was discussed at Gov. Nathan Deal’s Education Advisory Board of superintendents, to which he was appointed toward the end of 2014.

He said Deal aired hopes to increase about $1 million in funding to kindergarten through 12thgrade public schools over a two-year period, with high-achieving systems receiving increased flexibility and funding.

“Obviously, it’s a move in the right direction in terms of increased funding,” Bearden said.

Another point of discussion with the governor was conducting state takeovers of low-performing schools, which would require a constitutional amendment.

Bearden’s report came days after he and the five school board members attended an annual retreat, which this year was held in Dahlonega.

The retreat culminated with the agreement on the board’s 2015 goals, which were announced and approved at Thursday’s meeting.

Throughout the current year, the board will aim to:

* Professionally develop, “including diversity training for the BOE, staff and the community.”

* “Foster and monitor” funding for capital projects.

* Evaluate human capital management “to maximize capacity” in schools.

* “Cultivate leadership and continuity development” at all administrative levels.

* Collaborate with governmental agencies to “support a healthy and involved community.”

* “Engage in community and school events” to enhance stakeholder connections.