"What we want to do in January is begin working with home school students and offering them an avenue to come get curriculum they're having difficulty with, with whoever's home schooling them -- I'm not saying that happens in every [home schooling] case -- but if they're taking Algebra 2 and mom or dad or whoever's providing them home schooling is struggling with that, we can provide them [instruction]," Harper said during the board's regular work session.
The board is expected to vote to file a waiver to the state to allow flexibility in "seat time" for students who would enroll at the school -- which will be divided into The Bartow Learning Center for home school students and a college and career academy for students seeking a non-traditional learning environment.
"They can come for one period, they can come for two periods, whatever course work they need, and finish it within a timely manner," Harper said. "One of the issues I think we're having in education today is you have to go 180 days to get course credit and some kids can do it faster than that, so why don't we provide them an avenue."
Harper said the coursework will include instruction online and in-person with an instructor as to speed up the credit acquiring process for some students.
He said there will be meetings set up for parental input leading up to the start of the year. The Daily Tribune News will report these dates with more detailed information as they become available. The college and career academy is more than a year away and will require charter status as well as funding through a grant.
He recently met with Rep. Paul Battles, Rep. Christian Coomer and Sen. Barry Loudermilk with regards to the college and career academy.
"...I didn't ask them for any money, which was quite surprising to them, but what I said to them was, 'As we try to process through doing something different outside of the box for children who need something done differently outside of the box to get them a diploma from the state of Georgia, [we need help] to free up that path, to get rid of some of the hurdles that might be in our way as we work with the [Georgia Department of Education] to get things done that we know will be successful for children who just don't want to go to school every day in a traditional, or as I say, 'square box setting.'"
In other school news, Harper reported the most recent school enrollment number is at 13,788 -- 247 less students than projected this year by the state. He said although there is not a dollar amount available at this time to determine how much the state will reduce funding due to the lapse in enrollment, but said he is expecting the cut to be at least $1.3 million.
The county school system will hold its business session on Monday, Nov. 14, at 6 p.m. in the central office boardroom. The agenda, which includes second readings on student medication use, staff and student tobacco use and the first reading of an item to require criminal background checks on teachers at the time of recertification, is available at www.bartow.k12.ga.us.