The program that replaced Carrollton City Schools’ alternative school is off on the right foot, Superintendent Dr. Kent Edwards said Tuesday.
The city Board of Education voted earlier this year to enter into a contract with Ombudsman Alternative Education Services, a Tennessee-based company that provides a different model from the New Horizons program, which formally closed in May.
“We have been impressed with the communications we’ve heard from the program, and we’re very excited by the format and the commitment they have to our students,” Edwards said. “It’s off to a good start, and there will be some adjustment time, but it will be a good thing for us in the long run.”
About two-dozen students are being served by the program, housed at 112 Corporate Drive near the Trinka Davis Veterans Village. The board voted unanimously to approve that facility site selection Tuesday.
Students began classes at the Ombudsman office suite last Thursday, with Edwards planning a visit Friday for an update on its progress and to observe its operation.
Edwards said he’d heard some concerns about the students formerly served by New Horizons who will have to adjust to the Ombudsman program.
“It’s going to be different, that’s for sure,” Edwards said. “And we’ve learned that there are no perfect models that we can follow, but we will tweak and adjust and customize for what is best for our community and our students.”
New Horizons started with 75 students several years ago but dwindled to only 22 students in its last year, Edwards said. The superintendent approached the board last November about the possibility of contracting the service out to Ombudsman.
Edwards assured the board that the program is still “very necessary” and that the switch will not injure the instruction the students have been receiving.
The program is expected to give the system a savings of about $200,000 in the first few years, Assistant Superintendent Mike Sanders told the school board. The same number of staff members will be needed for the new program.