Superintendent John Harper explained the career academy would provide an opportunity for students to continue their education, but in a less traditional setting and would be operated solely by the school system.
"We've got a terrific program that we'd like to implement to work with kids who we feel would be very successful in a career academy setting," Harper said.
Harper said the program is oriented toward students who are less focused on a traditional high school experience and more focused on graduation.
"I think what people forget is you have ... rules for 14- and 15-year-old [students] that you're asking 18- and 19-year olds to follow, and they're sometimes more mature than the other kids, so it can be very difficult for them," Harper said. "They don't care about the sporting events, they don't care about the pep rallies, they just want to go to school and not put up with, as they call it, 'the drama,' and that's what we're trying to do is to provide another area for them."
The Cartersville-Bartow Chamber of Commerce last week sponsored a fly-in to Washington that gave participants the opportunity to discuss with state leaders education, transportation and economic development of small businesses. Hooper said this was an opportunity to learn more about ways of funding.
"I got to spend a good amount of time with Rep. [Phil] Gingrey discussing education in Bartow County and especially renovating the Cass High School for a career academy," Hooper said. "He was very interested and very attentive with what I had to say."
Hooper said an issue when finding state and federal grant funding to renovate the school comes from limited funds for structural improvements, with most grants designated for classroom improvements.
An example of a funding source exclusive to structural school projects is Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
"One of the things we learned is there are no earmarks for allowing pet projects as was done in the past," Hooper said, "but one of the things [the representatives] did do was commit to their staff working with us that once we have applied for the appropriate grants, to try to seek funding for the [Cass High] facility over here."
Hooper added, "We will request funds, and hopefully we made face contact with people who can help us with what we're asking for."
In other school board news, the board approved the purchase of five sets of supplemental reading books for Taylorsville, Clear Creek, White and Kingston elementary schools. The cost is $15,722 and was funded by After School Program funds.
The board approved to spend $23,500 for Geo Technical subsurface initial testing as preliminary site work for the new Adairsville Middle School project as well as $195,000 for construction materials testing as the building is constructed.
The board also approved the purchase of a $4,000 chain link fence to be built at the new Cloverleaf Elementary School.