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Prudential Spirit of Community Awards searching for top volunteers

Prudential Spirit of Community Awards searching for top volunteers

ATLANTA -- Georgia students in grades 5-12 are encouraged to apply for the 2013 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

The awards program began searching for its next batch of honorees this week. Recipients of the award are young people who have made meaningful contributions to their communities through volunteer service.

"We have been recognizing youth volunteers since 1995 and still, every year, we're amazed by the stories of exemplary community service," Prudential chairman and CEO John Strangfeld said in a statement. "We look forward to honoring the top youth volunteers of 2013 for their selflessness, their initiative and their dedication to changing communities for the better."

Ga. School Superintendent looking for student advisors

Ga. School Superintendent looking for student advisors

ATLANTA -- Georgia's Student Advisory Council is now accepting applications for the 2012-13 school year.

The Student Advisory Council reports to State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge to discuss how decisions made at the state level affect students throughout Georgia, according to Georgia Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza.

The council will meet twice during the school year -- Wednesday, Nov. 7 and Wednesday, Mar. 6. Applicants must be available to meet on both days.

All Georgia students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to apply.

"I am looking forward to getting to know a new group of student advisors and discuss how our policies affect them on a daily basis," Barge said in a statement. "We want to make education work for all Georgia's students and hearing directly from them is the best way to ensure that happens."

When does the school year begin?

When does the school year begin?

ATLANTA -- Summer break is coming to a close for many Atlanta-area students.

In fact, three Atlanta elementary schools -- Boyd, Centennial and Hutchinson -- are already back in session; the year-round schools began the 2012-13 calendar on July 10.

The remainder of metro Atlanta's school districts will open their doors a little later.

RELATED | School tax savings will come late for some parents

The first day of school for DeKalb County is Monday, Aug. 13. Students in Decatur City Schools will return to the classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Other start dates include:

End-of-Course Test results released

End-of-Course Test results released

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Department of Education released system-level results for End-of-Course Tests (EOCT) Tuesday morning.

Parents and students can now visit the Georgia Department of Education's website to see how students in their school system performed. Results for individual schools will be released by July 31.

EOCT tests are more important than ever because they have replaced the graduation tests that kept many students from getting a diploma.

The tests now count for 20% of a student's final grade, up from 15%.

By 2015, students will have to pass all eight tests, spread over their course of their high school careers, to graduate.

Appraiser: School board shortfall data released weeks ago

DECATUR, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School System basically lost $12 million in projected revenue in what appeared to be the wink of an eye. But the county agency that crunches the numbers says the school board may have overlooked numbers that had been available for weeks.

The revenue projections are based on data gathered in downtown Decatur at the tax assessor's office. It's no secret that property assessments are down, which is why property tax revenue is down.

But on Monday night, school board officials said they got new data -- just in the previous day or so -- that drastically reduced those projections.

But that data was available weeks ago, says the man behind the data, Dekalb chief appraiser Calvin Hicks.

DeKalb schools budget an extra $12 million in red

DeKalb schools budget an extra $12 million in red

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- The DeKalb County School Board members received shocking news on Monday night that the system faces another $12 million dollars in cuts on top of the $73 million dollar hole they've spent weeks trying to fill.

The panel tabled a vote on the budget after learning the news they now have to consider $85 million in budget cuts.

"Based on some new figures from the county that the tax digest would actually be worse," said Walter Woods. 

"The original projection was 6 percent lower, when it's actually 9 percent lower," Woods said. "We'd have to account for another $12 million in the budget."

That now brings the total budget gap to $85 million; but who does it affect?

Here are some of the areas already on the chopping block:

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

Ga. Connections Academy gets high marks from parents

ATLANTA -- Georgia Connections Academy has made the grade.

The state's first free virtual charter school received very positive feedback from the parents of its students during the 2011-12 school year.

Almost 90 percent of the parents who responded to a survey gave the school a grade of either A or B, and 92 percent they would recommend GACA to other parents. Eighty-five percent of parents said they were more satisfied with GACA than with their children's previous schools.

About 52 percent of the school's 610 families responded to the survey, according to GACA officials.

"Our parent satisfaction survey really illustrates our commitment to accountability," principal Heather Robinson said in a statement. "We value this parent feedback and use it to help make our virtual school program better. I am very pleased with the results, in particular the positive feedback about our teachers and the curriculum."