A proposed career and college academy for the Cobb County School District might be located at multiple locations instead of a new standalone facility, according to the latest concept being developed by a group studying the plan.
Cobb school superintendent Michael Hinojosa told Board of Education members Wednesday that on the working committee, which includes community leaders and representatives of Chattachoochee Tech, "there's a lot of consensus" to "potentially look at three different locations."
They could be existing high schools in South Cobb, West Cobb and Northeast Cobb, which would be more convenient for students and save money in transportation costs.
Cobb is one of many Georgia school districts preparing to offer a formal slate of subjects required by the state in the "career pathways program." The Georgia Department of Education has listed 17 possible subject areas, most of them vocationally oriented, for school districts to choose from.
"Some of these pathways are expensive and we'll have to take that into consideration," Hinojosa said.
He did not identify the three high schools, but said that if that option is pursued, it may be necessary, to cite one example, to "add a wing to a school."
When Cobb voters approved the $717 million Education SPLOST in March, the project list included $29 million in funding for a career pathways facility.
But the board wouldn't necessarily be locked into just one building if SPLOST IV money is used to construct career pathways-related classrooms and instructional areas, according to deputy superintendent Chris Ragsdale.
The career academy issue has drawn particular interest from education activists in South Cobb. One of them, Lawrence King of Austell, urged board members on Wednesday to consider "where the need is greatest and the potential for economic impact is greatest -- that's South Cobb."
Georgia school districts don't have to choose all 17 subject clusters as they craft a set of offerings to high school students, who must choose a pathway program by 2016.
Ragsdale said the "expectation is" that the career academy program will be operation in time for the 2017-18 school year.