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Data gathering on Richmond County school district enrollment to begin

Friday, Sept. 27, 2013 9:04 PM
Last updated Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 2:34 AM
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A consultant will begin gathering data on enrollment projections and building use to launch the process of consolidating schools in Richmond County.

The Richmond County Board of Education authorized the move at its fall retreat Friday so a plan for action can be put in place by February.

Over the past 15 years, families have moved from urban to rural areas of the county, leading to the loss of roughly 2,500 students, according to board attorney Pete Fletcher.

At the same time, construction projects have increased space at many schools, leaving some buildings and classrooms underutilized.

The plan to rightsize some schools is included as a cost-saving measure in the 2014-15 projected budget that Superintendent Frank Roberson is preparing to publish in February.

The board directed Roberson to compile a picture of next year’s financial situation early to allow more time for adjustments. This year the board complained about being presented with the 2013-14 budget just weeks before it had to be submitted to the state in June.

The baseline for next year is the current 2013-14 $234 million budget with a $23 million shortfall in funding.

Departments will begin suggesting feasible cuts, and consolidations will be factored into the budget after the board conducts a review and gets community input.

Fletcher did not estimate how many or which schools might close, consolidate or merge. However some pointed to Collins Elementary School because it services much of Cherry Tree Crossing public housing, which is set to be demolished in the summer.

“We have the potential of that school over there being practically empty,” said Board President Venus Cain.

By November, a consultant from Philadelphia-based Advanced Technology Consultants will suggest which schools can be consolidated, merged or closed. Any of those scenarios could result in boundary changes for zones, changes in which middle schools feed to various high schools and grade changes at some schools.

The plan will be presented to the board in January and public meetings will be held for feedback.

“We want the community to have some input into the process and the criteria,” Fletcher said. “As much as we can, it’s a community-wide effort.”

IN OTHER BUSINESS FROM THE RETREAT

• The board discussed ways to improve the human resources department, and voted to suspend skills testing within departments until a standard policy is developed to address how they are written and administered.

• The board discussed admissions policies for magnet schools and directed staff to clarify rules regarding re-entrance after a student retakes a failed course in summer school.

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Riverman1
70306
Points
Riverman1 09/28/13 - 06:00 am
4
1

Laney Should Be Closed

More evidence that families are moving (or being moved) out of the old city area. But sometimes these school closings become political. As areas lose students the people living there still want their schools. The downtown area should also lose a high school. Laney has a tiny student population. Yet, it has a huge football stadium and millions of dollars of construction going on now.

noxiousfumes
405
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noxiousfumes 09/28/13 - 07:42 am
2
0

Laney won't be closed. Its

Laney won't be closed. Its history, neighborhood/community identity and very strong alumni association make that a proposal that won't fly. Ever. Plus their new AP program has generated a lot of interest for those students who didn't make it into the magnet schools, which means that the student population is growing.

More than likely Glenn Hills HS because though it has been on the table for several years, no construction has started there and there isn't a strong neighborhood connection, community identity, nor a strong alumni association. They've lost well over 600 students over the past 5 years. Those students would probably go to Cross Creek, Hephzibah or Butler.

nocnoc
30666
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nocnoc 09/28/13 - 07:42 am
2
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Data mining starts

But remember the Fed's also announced they are having problems with protecting the privacy of the data.

Riverman1
70306
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Riverman1 09/28/13 - 07:50 am
3
0

NF said, "Laney won't be closed...

NF said, "Laney won't be closed. Its history, neighborhood/community identity and very strong alumni association make that a proposal that won't fly. Ever."

Yep, that was my point, but the tiny student population could easily be sent to other schools. Heck, Glenn Hills could be closed, too, as you point out.

Little Lamb
40052
Points
Little Lamb 09/28/13 - 11:07 am
1
0

Consolidate

If they would just merge Laney and Josey into one school, the size would be comparable to a modern, large high school. And maybe the combined school could win a football game.

Sweet son
8202
Points
Sweet son 09/28/13 - 11:54 am
1
0

Closing Laney would be like changing the street in front of it

back to it's REAL name! Gwinett Street! Neither will happen!

raul
3342
Points
raul 09/28/13 - 02:02 pm
1
0

But wait! What about how RC

But wait! What about how RC is growing and everyone is moving back to the urban areas? How can it be that RC has lost 2.5k students? Care to comment, Countyman?

countyman
16773
Points
countyman 09/28/13 - 04:14 pm
0
1

Spin, Spin, Spin,

What does 15 years ago have to do with 2013?

All you have to do is check the 2012 census estimate for RC, and drive around to view the residential construction. Where in the article did it say RC lost 2.5k students?

raul
3342
Points
raul 09/28/13 - 05:20 pm
1
0

@countyman. 3rd paragraph.

@countyman. 3rd paragraph.

GnipGnop
10930
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GnipGnop 09/28/13 - 06:34 pm
1
0

Right there....

Over the past 15 years, families have moved from urban to rural areas of the county, leading to the loss of roughly 2,500 students, according to board attorney Pete Fletcher.
The census says Augusta has barely grown....Who believes a census estimate?

Gage Creed
12330
Points
Gage Creed 09/28/13 - 08:21 pm
0
0

Spin...Spin...Spin... Nothing

Spin...Spin...Spin...

Nothing left but SKID marks.... Again facts are pesky things

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