Buford school officials look at new year

At its first meeting of the 2011-12 school year, Buford City Schools board of education looked at enrollment numbers, got a glimpse at student test results and voted to upgrade some facilities.

The system continues to grow. As of Monday's meeting the student population is 3,448, an increase of nearly 400 students from last year.

The elementary school has 568 students in kindergarten and first grade combined. Buford Academy has 1,108 total second- through fifth-grade students. The middle school has a population of 790, and the high school has 982 students.

Buford High School Principal Banks Bitterman said preliminary numbers he's seen for SAT and ACT scores were "drastic improvements from last year."

The numbers were preliminary and not yet official, though the scores will soon be announced, he said.

In other business at Monday's meeting, the school board unanimously approved bids for maintenance items and facility upgrades as well, including the $16,315 purchase of surveillance cameras at Buford Academy.

Said Superintendent Geye Hamby: "We're very fortunate in that we have a very safe school. However, the larger we get it is necessary to review this."

In addition, the board voted to begin planning for renovation of the high school auditorium at an estimated cost of between $100,000 and $150,000.

The board also voted unanimously to approve the following facility maintenance and upgrades:

Payment for furnishings and design at the schools.

New sound system for the gym at Buford Elementary.

Playground mulch for the elementary school and academy.

Tile and grout cleaning for the elementary, academy and middle school.

Surplus of exhaust fans and trophy cases at the high school.

Stadium painting for a section of the football field.

Painting at all district schools and the central office.

Ground maintenance specifications at the central office.

Landscape beautification for all school facilities and central office.