Unveiling the Namesakes: Sprayberry High School

Sprayberry High School is named after long time Cobb County Educator, Principal, Superintendent and Administrator William Paul “W.P.” Sprayberry. His passion for providing quality education to students led him to become a prominent advocate for expanding educational opportunities in the area.

Sprayberry’s commitment to education extended beyond the classroom. He actively supported initiatives to improve teacher training and worked to increase access to education for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.

As the superintendent of Cobb County Schools, W.P. played a pivotal role in shaping the county’s educational system. He spearheaded efforts to improve school facilities, establish new schools, and enhance curriculum offerings, all with the aim of providing a better education for the children of Cobb County.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to education and the community, Sprayberry High School was named in his honor. The school serves as a testament to his enduring legacy and dedication to providing quality education to the students of Cobb County.

W. P. Sprayberry, at the U. S. Senate, advocating for more federal funding to help build schools in Cobb County, Georgia, and the Nation:

United States. Congress. Senate. Committee on Labor and Public Welfare · 1955

Emergency Federal Aid for School Construction:
Statement by W. P. Sprayberry, President, Georgia Education Association and Superintendent, Cobb County Schools, Marietta, GA.

I am W. P. Sprayberry, president of the Georgia Education Association and superintendent of the Cobb County schools, Marietta, Ga. We are very grateful for the privilege of appearing before this committee which is concerned with the educational needs of this Nation.  It is a great privilege for me to have an opportunity to present some facts with reference to the problem of school construction for this Nation and how it affects the State of Georgia.

I would like to review briefly, the effort which the State of Georgia has put forth both from a local and State level in meeting this very critical need regarding schoolhouse construction. With the implementation of the minimum foundation program for education in 1951, the Georgia Legislature, for the first time in the history of the State, made State funds available to school systems for school-plant construction.

Since school-building needs in the State were so great that funds available on an annual basis could not be expected to meet the needs within the foreseeable future, the legislature passed an act creating the State school building authority, which serves as an agency through which annual allotments of State funds can be capitalized, thereby making available funds for the construction of a large number of new facilities in a relatively short time.

At the present time, the State is appropriating $14.5 million annually for school-building construction, and school systems of the State are capitalizing their allotments through the State school building authority so that more than $175 million worth of new school buildings are being constructed from State funds. The construction program being financed through the State school building authority will provide a thousand new buildings or additions to existing buildings with more than 12,000 new classrooms. It is expected that these facilities will be completed by the fall of 1956. In addition to buildings being constructed with State funds, local school systems have assumed responsibility for facilities which will cost at least $50 million. Many of these facilities are already under construction or have been completed.

In spite of its great State school-building program and the substantial local effort being made, Georgia has not been able to keep up with school-building needs resulting from the steadily increasing school population. The current school-building program was based on the average daily attendance in the school systems of the State for the 1951-52 school term. As a result, no provision could be made for substantial increases in enrollment and average daily attendance since that time.

The Federal school facilities survey report for Georgia indicates that, by the end of the 1958-59 school year, Georgia will need 13,000 additional classrooms and other facilities which will cost, at a very conservative estimate, approximately $240 million. These needs will be over and above the facilities which will be available when the current building program is completed.

The extent of additional needs becomes apparent when consideration is given to the fact that the buildings now under construction or scheduled under the present program were planned to house approximately 637,000 children, while the net enrollment for the 1953-54 school year was 807,631, with anticipated increases of at least 30,000 annually, as a minimum for each of the next 5 years. This means that, as of the close of the 1953-54 school year, more than 170,000 children were actually in school for whom satisfactory space is not being provided.

The extent of need becomes even more apparent when it is pointed out that State funds are allocated for the construction of classrooms, lunchrooms, and sanitary facilities, but are not provided for gymnasiums and auditoriums, which are needed if school plants are to be complete. These facilities are included in the total of residual needs shown in the Federal school facilities survey report.

It is very evident from the foregoing statements that the State of Georgia, along with the local people, has put forth a great effort to meet school-construction needs. However, the problem remains extremely serious and critical in view of the present and impending enrollments.

The Federal Government has been spending, and rightly so, an enormous sum of money for defense the greatest fortress of democracy today is its public schools. Public education is the very foundation upon which our defenses must rest if we continue our American way of life, and we feel this problem is extremely urgent and should receive prompt attention.

I feel that the Federal Government has a grave responsibility in meeting immediately this serious and critical need which is affecting millions of boys and girls throughout our Nation. They cannot wait for school buildings 5 or 6 years.

Thank you, Senator.