Cherokee Christian Schools opened its new high school for the start of its 2010-11 school year today.
The Woodstock school has 380 students enrolled so far, said Superintendent Mike Lee, which is down slightly from 390 students last school year.
"Economy, economy, economy," he said as to why enrollment is down. "Overall, we need to be grateful for the amount of students we have."
The 26,000-square-foot new high school building can hold as many as 200 students. It features 10 classrooms, all equipped with digital projectors, screens and surround-sound speakers, a science lab, two physical education rooms and a media center.
Other features include a multi-purpose cafeteria, boys' and girls' locker rooms, a medical room, two conference rooms and nine offices.
The school will celebrate the grand opening of the facility at 4 p.m. on Aug. 14 at the campus at 3075 Trickum Road.
Lee said the he thinks the school remains popular because parents who have a "heartfelt conviction" to enroll their children into a Christian school will make a way to do so.
High school students pay $9,200 in tuition each year, and first- through eighth-grade students pay $8,550. Kindergarten students enrolled in halfdays pay $5,600, and those enrolled full-time pay $7,400.
Lee said the school plans to add a fine arts center, which would contain a "black box" theater, a digital media room, a chorus room, an art room and a room for musical instruments. Lee also said he would like to grow the school's sports program.
The school may see a surge in enrollment as state budget cuts impact public education, he said.
"We are really moving in a different direction than the public schools," he said, noting they aren't cutting teacher assistants, increasing class sizes or cutting fine arts and sports programs.
At Lyndon Academy in Holly Springs, the school's enrollment has nearly doubled since last school year.
Peter Murdock, director of business operations at the school, said classes began on Monday with 80 students enrolled. That's up from 48 on the first day of school last year.
"Students are eager to go to school here, and they love their school," he said, noting the students speak three languages daily and earn high test scores.
Lyndon Academy, which enrolls pre-kindergarten through fourth-grade students, recently opened a new facility in Holly Springs, which sits on 6.6 acres on Toonigh Road.
The 30,000-square-foot building can accommodate 500 students in kindergarten through fifth grade.
The building will contain 18 classrooms, a computer lab, a gym, a cafeteria and a storm shelter.
The school also hired athletic director Alex Mosley and will introduce soccer, golf, tennis and tae kwon do as extracurricular activities for students. Murdock said parents have been clamoring for these additions.
Lyndon Academy charges $10,900 in annual tuition for junior kindergarten, $11,900 for kindergarten, $12,600 for first- through third-grade students and $6,000. The tuition also covers school supplies, books, activity fees between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., lunch, technology, field trips, 40-minute Spanish lessons for junior and regular kindergarten students and 40-minute Spanish and Mandarin lessons for first- through fourth-grade students.
When classes resume on Aug. 16 at Furtah Preparatory School in southwest Cherokee, the school is expecting 120 students, which is down slightly from 130 last school year, said Headmaster Fred Furtah.
Montessori pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students are charged $8,434 in annual tuition, Montessori first- through fourth-grade and upper elementary grade students pay $10,666, middle school students pay $11,659 and high school students pay $12,965.
Furtah said the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship has been a great benefit for families. The scholarship allows special needs children who were enrolled in a public school during the previous school year to transfer to another public school or receive vouchers to attend a state-approved private school.
He also said the legislation that allows private citizens and corporations to redirect money to state-approved scholarship organizations, which in turn allows public school students to transfer to private schools, has lead to more enrollments.
Furtah said at least one-third of his students have taken advantage of these opportunities. About six students from Serbia also have enrolled at Furtah.
Furtah Prep will begin offering more trade classes for its students and computer programs to enhance reading reinforcement. It's also installing SMARTboards in some classrooms and using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to reach more people.
Plans for a new facility have "not been as aggressive" due to the economic downturn, the headmaster said. Instead the school will begin various beautification efforts at its current location.