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One week down, many to go
Officials pleased with years start
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Forsyth County News
After a week of growth and adjustments, officials say the Forsyth County school system is geared up for another successful year.

“Fortunately, since we didn’t open any new schools there was not a lot of new change, and so I think to a certain extent it really helped get things off to a smooth start,” said Superintendent Buster Evans.

About 35,365 students were in attendance when school started Aug. 9.

By Friday, an additional 164 students had enrolled, said Sue Derison, information systems and support director. She added that it’s not unusual for students to continue to trickle in through Labor Day.

“Particularly when they move in from out of town,” she said. “We start much earlier than other portions of the country.”

In addition to new county residents, Derison said other arriving students are those whose parents changed their minds about home or private schooling.

As new students come in, schools have to adjust everything from classes to bus schedules.

But Gary Puetz, transportation director, said that’s typical for the first week of school.

“When students are new to the system and we don’t have a [bus] stop within three-tenths of a mile of their residence, then we’ve got to kind of scramble a little bit,” he said.

“But by and large, students coming in have had stops assigned to them and all we really have to do is make sure we know they’re in the system ... Sue’s done a great job of letting us know when we’ve got new students.”

Puetz said bus drivers, students and teachers have been working to resolve any transportation issues.

He said buses met the goal of arriving 10 minutes before the morning bell about 97 percent of the time last week. And that’s with about 7,000 stops, 288 buses and 22,000 riders.

“We’ve made a lot of great improvement over the week and we expect that within two to three days we’ll be ironing the rest of those out,” he said.
Derison said attendance is about where the system had projected. While the growth is nowhere near the 8 percent increase from 2007 to 2008, the county is still growing.

There’s been about a 3.5 percent increase in student population from last year.

Estimates show there may be even more growth this year, Derison said. The school district lost about 1,800 seniors to graduation in May, but welcomed about 2,900 kindergartners last week.

Evans said he hears a lot of new parents say they “moved here because of the school system.”

“We feel good about that,” he said. “We know we have a very, very good school system ... and we’re always trying to improve.”