Local News
Friday, 26 June 2020 11:46

Forsyth Schools Opening in August

 Forsyth County Schools issued this week options that parents will have for their students when they return to class this fall.

Unless directed to do otherwise by the governor or Georgia Department of Education, school will open on Aug. 6 as scheduled for the district. K-12 students will have two options: face-to-face or virtual.

Special needs pre-K or kindergarten through fifth grade virtual

The new Special needs pre-K or kindergarten through fifth grade virtual learning option is being created in direct response to the feedback Forsyth Schools received from parents/guardians in recent surveys. Families need to understand this will not look the same as the virtual experience this past spring. The expectations and rigor will mirror face-to-face instruction, and virtual students will have a full school day Monday-Friday. There will be a significant commitment needed by parents/guardians to help facilitate learning virtually.

Forsyth Schools will host virtual town hall meetings the week of July 6.  This will be  to provide more details on this Special needs pre-K or kindergarten through fifth grade option. An online selection form will be issued to parents and guardians on Friday with a completion deadline of July 10 to allow schools and the district to plan appropriately. The virtual learning commitment is for the entire first quarter, which is nine weeks.

Parents and guardians should also note that their child's teacher may not be physically located at the school where they are districted, and if a parent/guardian selects to switch to face-to-face instruction in the second quarter, their child may have a different teacher. The district will be staffing face-to-face and virtual learning with existing teachers.

Sixth through 12th grade virtual

Currently middle and high school virtual learning is provided through the Forsyth Virtual Academy program. Parents, guardians and students who may be interested in this option for the 2020-21 school year should visit online to learn more about the course offerings and how to register. Forsyth Virtual Academy courses are a semester long commitment, which is 18 weeks. Since the Forsyth Virtual Academy is a program and not a school, students will still maintain enrollment at their districted school and  be able to participate in school activities or athletics. The deadline to register for Forsyth Virtual Academy classes for the 2020-21 school year is July 31.

Additionally, the district released information on the 2020-21 school year operations budget. For last year's school year, the 2019-20 operations budget was funded with about 48 percent of local, state and 52 percent of federal revenues. For 2020-21, the state is projecting an 11 percent decrease for education funding and the local digest is projected to increase less than prior years.

When looking at revenue sources for the district, it is important to note that while other metro Atlanta districts  received funds from the CARES Act (federal COVID-19 funding), Forsyth Schools received $1.7 million. The district closest to it in size, Atlanta Public Schools, received $22.9 million.

For local revenue, Forsyth Schools is one of a few school districts in Georgia to have a senior exemption at the age of 65, which is an annual loss of an estimated $36 million., Forsyth Schools' local fair share contribution has increased over the last four years to be $62.5 million in 2019-20.

In building an operational budget, the district said it has two goals: to protect all employees in good standing to avoid a reduction in force and keep benefits, if possible; and to not increase class sizes or caseloads of staff.

"90 percent of Forsyth Schools' general operational budget is salaries and benefits. It costs us approximately $2 million a day to pay employee salaries and benefits. For the 2020-21 school year there will be no step increases, no cost of living increases, and decreases to the student (school) and employee work calendars. Until we receive our revenue projections from the state and county, we are unable to know the specific number of school and workdays, or which days specifically will be adjusted. Please note that all currently scheduled breaks (Fall, Thanksgiving, Winter and Spring) will remain as listed in the "2020-21 Revised Calendar"

Continue to visit the Restart Forsyth Website for updated information.

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