Students, teachers head back to school
Students and teachers in both the Franklin County and Russellville City school systems returned to school this past week, and school officials said the new year is off to a great start.
Franklin County Superintendent Gary Williams said the first few days for the county schools have seemed to go well.
“Everything has been pretty much routine at most of the schools, with the exception of Phil Campbell High School,” Williams said.
Phil Campbell High School students are currently attending class at three local churches while construction crews finish up work on the new PCHS, which is slated to be complete after Labor Day.
“Of course it’s not easy to be retuning to school and not actually be at school, but the students, the faculty and the administration are all handling it very well.
“These students and faculty have learned to adapt over the past three years, and the first few days have been great considering the circumstances.
“Gary Odom and his staff have done a great job organizing things at the churches, and we are very grateful to each church for allowing us to hold school there until the new school is finished.
“In just a few weeks, our students at PCHS will be in their new school, and we will all be glad to see this day come.
“All of our schools are off to a good start and I anticipate a great school year for the county school system.”
Russellville City Schools Superintendent Rex Mayfield said the start of the new school year has gone extremely well for the city school system as well.
The biggest problem for RCS during the first few days of school is the traffic since all four schools are located in close proximity to one another.
One major difference this year was recent roadwork, funded by the city, that was completed on Summit Street, including widening the street to three lanes from Waterloo Road to Allen Avenue making a dedicated turn lane going into the middle school, and the addition of three speed bumps and a raised crosswalk across the road near the fine arts building.
“I spoke with [Russellville Police] Chief Chris Hargett, and all the traffic issues went smoothly those first few days,” Mayfield said.
“I think parents and students are getting used to the new speed bumps and crosswalk by the middle school, and that will be a big asset for our campus because it enhances the safety of our students who have to cross from one school campus to the other.”
Russellville City also completed their first year of having a pre-k class in the 2013-2014 school year.
“The pre-k class went great this past year, and we have another class this year,” Mayfield said.
“There were many people who were interested in having their child in the pre-k program, but we only have space for one class. Otherwise we would have applied for additional grant money for another class.”
Last year, the system experienced a record-high number of students enrolled in the city schools.
This year the numbers grew once again.
“As of Tuesday morning, our total enrollment system-wide was approximately 2,631 students,” Mayfield said.
“We checked our numbers back as far as 1986 and we have not had over 2,500 students in our system since that time until last year when we had 2,570 students.”
But Mayfield said even though space is limited due to the growing class sizes, it isn’t a problem that has to be addressed at this time.
“There are always a few kinks to work out those first couple of days, but overall, I think our schools are off to a great start for the new year,” he said.