The list of honors and recognition for former Cedar Hill High School teacher and coach Escue Rodgers continued last week with Polk School District presenting a proclamation at the June 8 school board meeting.
Rodgers, who passed away in 1978, coached athletics at the former school for more than two decades during the 1950s and 1960s, and was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame last month.
Dr. Katie Thomas, serving in her first school board meeting as Polk Schools superintendent, said she was proud to recognize Rodgers’ contributions to Polk School District before reading the proclamation.
“Whereas Polk School District has been blessed to have had many great role models to lead our young people in our athletic programs, and whereas one such outstanding leader, coach and athletic director for Cedar Hill High School in Cedartown, Georgia was coach Escue Rodgers,” Thomas read.
Rodgers coached football, basketball and track for 24 years at Cedar Hill, and his teams won 85 trophies during that time. The Cedar Hill Fighting Panthers football team was a perennial winner. During the time of segregation, Escue was named head Coach of the North Team, the first ever Georgia Interscholastic Association All-Star Team.
Rodgers was honored during his lifetime with numerous coaching and teaching awards including Coach of the Year from Fort Valley State in 1953, Morris Brown College Outstanding Coaching Achievement Award in 1956, and the distinguished Coaching Award from the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association in 1974.
“Now therefore be it proclaimed that Polk School District recognizes and appreciates the outstanding works of coach Escue Rodgers and honors his dedication to the student athletics of Cedartown, Georgia,” Thomas concluded.
Several members of the Cedar Hill Alumni Association, Cedartown Chapter, were on hand to receive the proclamation. They are working with the city of Cedartown to raise funds for a bronze statue of Rodgers to be placed on the grounds of the Polk County Courthouse as part of the Walk of Fame project.
“We want to thank Polk School District for their honoring an esteemed gentleman who not only was a mentor to athletes at Cedar Hill, but also to young men and women in our neighborhoods and in our community,” said Sherri Garrett, a member of the alumni association.
School board members Bernard Morgan and JP Foster also both shared memories of attending Cedar Hill and being taught by Rodgers.
In other business, the school board unanimously approved the district’s FY2022 final budget.
School board member Britt Madden, chair of the budget committee, remarked that the budget was on par with the FY2021 budget with a very positive outlook as far as the district’s fund balance is concerned.
Madden said that they are expecting approximately $88 million in combined revenue for the next fiscal year, with nearly 23% of that coming from local sources such as property taxes.
The district’s projected fund balance for the end of the fiscal year is approximately $14.6 million, an increase of nearly $8 million over what it is expected to be at the end of the current fiscal year at the end of June.
“To me it's a great budget,” said Madden, who is a CPA. “This group in the finance department that we have here at Polk School District is one of the best and they do a tremendous job working on keeping track of this throughout the year.”
A fund balance is used as a rainy-day fund to help governments and other entities continue to provide services when revenue does not meet expectations. It can also help cover emergency needs or expenses that arise during the year.