Clayton County schools enrollment plunges

JONESBORO - Enrollment in Clayton County schools has plunged since the system found out it was losing accreditation two weeks ago.

The district has lost an average of 50 students a day - or about 750 total - since the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools announced Aug. 28 it was yanking Clayton County's accreditation, according to data released to The Associated Press this week. And overall enrollment is down by 2,700 students since this time last year, dropping to 50,014 as of Thursday, district spokesman Charles White said.

Superintendent John Thompson has begged parents to keep their children in the system's 59 schools but many say they've lost faith in the struggling district.

'I gave them a chance. I gave them the opportunity to make it right, and they didn't,' said Ann Lewis, who withdrew her two sons from Jonesboro High School the day the accreditation decision was announced. 'I'm not going to make my kids suffer.'

Now, Lewis is searching for a part-time job to help pay the $850 monthly tuition for her 17-year-old son, Chris, and her 15-year-old son, Anthony, to attend Griffin Christian Academy in Spalding County.