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Group to focus on rightsizing Richmond County schools

Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 4:08 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 6:01 AM
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A focus group will have its first meeting Tuesday to discuss plans for rightsizing schools in Richmond County, which could result in closures, merges or consolidations.

Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Carol Rountree said the group of roughly 30 citizens will hear the history of rightsizing in the county and the needs going forward of the school system.

“When they finish (Tuesday night), they should have agreed to some criteria to look for any mergers or reductions of buildings,” Rountree said.

The school system has lost roughly 2,500 students over the last decade as families moved from urban to rural areas. At the same time, millions of dollars have been invested in renovating schools and the construction of new buildings, leaving some schools under utilized.

School officials and community members first met in 2008 to establish criteria to rightsize schools and properly use the facilities. Board attorney Pete Fletcher said at that time, the group members decided they’d like to see smaller enrollments and “community schools.”

Since then, the state department of education has given waivers to increase class sizes as a budget crisis has underfunded school districts. With larger capacities, now some schools are underenrolled.

In September, the Richmond County Board of Education authorized an education consultant to begin gathering data on enrollment projections and building usage to launch the process again.

Superintendent Frank Roberson also included the plan to rightsize some schools as a cost-saving measure in the 2014-15 projected budget.

Fletcher said the focus group, made up of school officials, school volunteers and community members, will set criteria on how to handle long-term and short-term changes. Tuesday’s meeting may not have time set aside for public input but additional community meetings will be held in the future for feedback.

According to a timeline given to the board in September, a rightsizing plan will be presented to the public at community meetings in January after staff reviews scenarios and recommendations from its consultant.

IF YOU GO

What: Focus group meeting on school rightsizing

When: Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m.

Where: Richmond County Board of Education board room; 864 Broad St.

Input: The focus group may not take input from the public Tuesday but will hold community meetings for feedback early next year

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Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/11/13 - 05:28 pm
7
2
Tell the Truth, Carol

From the story, according to Carol Rountree:

The school system has lost roughly 2,500 students over the last decade as families moved from urban to rural areas.

No, they have not moved from urban to rural. Some have moved from urban to suburban. Some have moved from suburban to suburban. The main thing is that they moved to get away from RCBOE to either CCBOE or ACBOE.

The rest of the story is that families moving here from across the state and across the country decided not to move to Richmond at all, but rather to Columbia County or Aiken County.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/11/13 - 06:57 pm
4
4
Reality

So all the recent population growth in RC consist of single people? Somebody better tell the families moving into the 200 acre Haynes Station neighborhood then.
.
Interesting the Census had both RC and AC gaining around the same number of people lately.

thauch12
6489
Points
thauch12 11/11/13 - 07:57 pm
5
2
Good!

It's about time! I've always wondered why the RCBOE wastes money maintaining three high schools (Josey, Laney, ARC) that are all of two miles from each other when 2 of those schools have enrollments <800 and the third houses an IB program that draws students from throughout the county. It is a waste of resources and money in a school district that is already scrapping for cash.

GiantsAllDay
9429
Points
GiantsAllDay 11/11/13 - 08:02 pm
4
1
"Assistant Superintendent of

"Assistant Superintendent of Student Services"? A misnomer if there ever was one.

thauch12
6489
Points
thauch12 11/11/13 - 08:05 pm
8
1
More like delusions countyman...

A little fact-checking would show that countyman's assertions aren't quite true.

According to the Census Bureau website, Richmond County gained about 2038 people from 2010-2012. Aiken County gained 2706 people in the same time. Now, if one wants to say those are "about the same," I'm not sure if I'd agree with you, especially when you look at it in terms of growth rate in which case Aiken County grew nearly 70% more than Richmond County (1.7% compared to 1.0%).

Just for good measure, if you throw Columbia County into the mix, the population growth there is significantly greater (7574 people, 6.1% growth rate), but I suspect that would be fairly unsurprising to most people.

Sources:http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/13/13245.html

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 11/11/13 - 08:26 pm
7
1
It is what it is. They lost 2500 students.

It is what it is. They lost 2500 students. I think the school system knows how many students they have. Goodness. Sooner or later they have to close some schools. It was a shame to build new stadiums at all the high schools when one is going to have to close eventually.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/11/13 - 08:40 pm
2
10
Facts

The population gains are in thousands and their only separated by 700.. Please stop trying to spin my comments, because nobody mentioned the growth rate.. I clearly mentioned the number of people which means the raw number.

It doesn't really matter anyway, because Richmond County will easily grow much faster over the next few years in terms of percentage and raw numbers compared to Aiken..

It won't be too long before Richmond catches up to Columbia County either.

The Village at Riverwatch, Whole Foods/DSW/Home Goods/, 69 acre development at Walton Way Ext/I-20, etc are located in Richmond County.

The last decade Columbia County was still considered the 'new' area in the metro, and built the Mullins Crossing, Gateway, Evans Town Park, etc.

Gage Creed
16788
Points
Gage Creed 11/11/13 - 09:34 pm
4
2
FACTS are pesky things!

Busted again for massaging the numbers.... If my personal wealth grew by 1% and your wealth grew by 1.7%, logic tells me your growth was 70% more than mine...

Facts never seem to be pertinent when Joe Isuzu speaks...

Gage Creed
16788
Points
Gage Creed 11/11/13 - 09:36 pm
1
3
I wonder if Harvard educated

I wonder if Harvard educated folks are any better at math?

thauch12
6489
Points
thauch12 11/12/13 - 12:14 am
5
2
More interesting facts from the Census

I think the fallacies in countyman's thinking (whether you want to measure in hundreds, thousands, tenths, "raw" numbers, "cooked" numbers, massaged numbers, stressed numbers, etc.) are evident.

Moreover, while we're looking at the census numbers, it's interesting if you look at different zip codes in the CSRA.

For example, look at Martinez vs. zip code 30909 (west Augusta). Median income in Martinez is $60,889 (population 35,795) compared to median income in west Augusta $42,472 (population 41,585). Throw Evans in there with a median income of $95,205 (population 29,011) and it's clear as day where there is more disposable income/wealth.

The numbers don't lie. Businesses follow money. While all these developments may be in Richmond County (...and barely I might add), they didn't come here because of Augusta. They came became of the wealth in Martinez/Evans.

Source: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml#...

Dixieman
14465
Points
Dixieman 11/12/13 - 07:36 am
4
1
Dixieman' foolproof 10-point plan to cure this

1. Close them all, every one of them, and give the money to parents in the form of vouchers so the parents can choose. Charter and private schools will spring up to better serve the students and parents as a result.
2-10. Because the RCBOE and the teachers' unions will oppose my excellent plan at every step of the way with all their might to preserve their cushy bureaucratic entitlements, we may have to persevere for 10 years to git-er-done, so repeat as needed.

Didn't anyone else notice that RCBOE has been having meetings and studies and discussion about closing schools FOR FIVE WHOLE YEARS (since 2008 as the story points out; see fifth paragraph) and nothing has happened? Your kids will "graduate," illiterate and innumerate, long before these timeservers ever actually do anything.

seenitB4
85822
Points
seenitB4 11/12/13 - 07:58 am
2
2
Like a cat covering up poopoo

The numbers don't lie.....BUT, the other counties will take a hit in school taxes.

nocnoc
41448
Points
nocnoc 11/12/13 - 08:33 am
3
2
LL - stabs the point in the heart.

2,500 students gone and at the usual 2 kids per family, this means ARC likely lost about 1,250 Families.

750 to 1,250 less renters or Home owners,
750 to 1,250 less wage earners,
1,250 families not paying taxes,

But we are still told we have a Growing County?
What is ARC growing in, because it ain't students?

Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 08:41 am
4
2
Growing

NocNoc asks, "What is ARC growing in?"

It is growing older.

And, thanks to Obama, Russell and the commission, it is growing poorer.

nocnoc
41448
Points
nocnoc 11/12/13 - 08:51 am
3
1
Countyman - Honest question

What have you heard about the plans for the South Side Ryan's

internationallyunknown
4057
Points
internationallyunknown 11/12/13 - 10:02 am
2
2
Without RC, CC nor AC would

Without RC, CC nor AC would not exist as it does.

There isn't a quick fix. This is the result of incompetence on many levels within the city government for MANY years.

Nothing is perfect.

In contrast, RCSS has some of the best educators in the state....it also has some of the worst citizens...

jamc1103
134
Points
jamc1103 11/12/13 - 10:56 am
2
2
thauch12, I bet those numbers

would show an even greater difference if you took out the part of ARC that is in the Martinez 30907 zip code.

Riverman1
82450
Points
Riverman1 11/12/13 - 11:26 am
1
2
About 22% of zipcode 30907 is

About 22% of zipcode 30907 is in Richmond Cty. Those numerous apartments on Stevens Creeks Rd are in Richmond County.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 12:08 pm
1
2
The zipcode 30909 includes

The zip code 30909 includes more than West Augusta.....

1. The middle class neighborhoods in Southwest Augusta west of Jimmie Dyess along Gordon Hwy are in 30909.

2. The section of Gordon Hwy around I-520 is also included in 30909

The 30907 zip code includes both West Augusta and Martinez...

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 12:10 pm
1
2
Look at the real estate

Thauch112?????? Please explain??

Average listing price
http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/Evans-Georgia/

Summerville 317,562
Forest Hills 293,763
West Augusta: 245,354

Evans 295,684
Martinez 233,958

Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 12:35 pm
0
1
Deflection Again

Once again, Countyman tries to deflect and confuse the subject. He posted:

The zip code 30909 includes more than West Augusta.....

Then he talks about middle class neighborhoods west of Dyess Pkwy. along Gordon Hwy. Those neighborhoods are in West Augusta. Then he talks about the section of Gordon Hwy. around I-20. That section is in West Augusta.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 01:05 pm
1
1
Facts

Everybody knows Gordon Hwy is the dividing line between South and West...

When has Gordon Hwy ever been considered West Augusta?

According to your logic then both the Regency Mall and Augusta mall are located in West Augusta.. Why do the kids who live around Regency Mall go to Butler/Josey instead of Westside?

The spin is too much on here, because now somebody is trying to include Gordon Hwy into West Augusta

The area of Gordon Hwy west of Jimmie Dyess is brand new, and nobody uses the term West Augusta. I've even seen a developer behind one of the new subdivisions use the term Central Augusta, but never 'West Augusta'.

countyman
19745
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 01:11 pm
1
1
Interesting none of the

Interesting none of the businesses on Gordon Hwy around I-520 use West Augusta..

''The new Comfort Inn & Suites on Gordon Highway near Bobby Jones Expressway hosted city leaders this morning.''

“South Augusta is an untouched area. We feel that the potential of this area will grow,” Mr. Holland said. “South Augusta is ready and south Augusta is growing.”
http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/latest/lat_700146.shtml

''American Tire Distributors will greatly expand their presence and operation in the Augusta market growing from a facility that today is only 15,600 sf. The Augusta distribution facility will be located near the intersection of Gordon Highway and Bobby Jones Expressway (Interstate 520) on Noland Drive in South Augusta. The new facility will result in 30 new jobs and an investment of more than $4 million.''
http://www.wrdw.com/home/headlines/42323222.html

Austin Rhodes
2855
Points
Austin Rhodes 11/12/13 - 01:37 pm
1
1
Interesting "per house" value, there Countyman...

ESPECIALLY when you consider that virtually all of Columbia County's poor live in houses, and so many of Richmond County's poor live in PUBLIC HOUSING that does not count in the "per capita" value comparison.

There are nice neighborhoods in RC, but per capita, far better housing is/has been built in CC over the last 20 years.

Two of those Summerville houses that are used to bolster the value stats are sitting next to each other unoccupied, because they are wholly impractical to live in and maintain (100 year old homes), and the taxes are outrageous for anyone under 65.

Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 02:00 pm
0
2
Ridiculous Assertion

Countyman posted:

Everybody knows Gordon Hwy is the dividing line between South and West...

One of your most absurd posts ever. No, everybody does not know that.

Gordon Hwy. runs east / west. Therefore, it cannot divide south from west, but rather, south from north. Duh.

internationallyunknown
4057
Points
internationallyunknown 11/12/13 - 02:05 pm
0
0
rotation

Considering there isn't a N. Augusta, in GA....the east/west correlation about G. Highway works.

Take a map of Augusta and rotate it so that the west is the "north" and tada!

Sweet son
10114
Points
Sweet son 11/12/13 - 02:17 pm
1
2
What happened to commenting about 'rightsizing' RC schools?

Looks like the comments turned into another countyman pee match. LOL!

Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 02:19 pm
0
2
Directionally Challenged

Countyman posted:

The area of Gordon Hwy west of Jimmie Dyess is brand new, and nobody uses the term West Augusta.

That residential area is 100% on the north side of Gordon Hwy. Therefore, it would be wrong to consider that area into any description that includes the word "south."

Little Lamb
45395
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 02:26 pm
0
1
Deflection

Yep, you are 100% correct, Sweet Son. I fell into his diversionary tactic. I apologize.

whyme
1664
Points
whyme 11/12/13 - 02:27 pm
0
0
the real deal

Numbers of folks moving in.out, addresses/dividing lines, etc. All of these might be contributing to the consideration of mergers, but the bottom line needs to be how to provide the best possible education for the students, regardless of county.One person mentioned outstanding educators, I've also heard a lack of good parent involvement, and there's the issue of income discrepancies which limit the amount of money that can be added to enhance the tools provided to learn. All valid issues and all of these things should be discussed. When someone with children is considering moving the CSRA, he or she is going to ask about the school system and hopefully want the best for the children. If it's not Richmond County, then no one should blame the person for moving elsewhere. I saw that the committee has been discussing things since 2008 or so? How much longer is it going to meet and not actually do something?
p.s. it's "strapped for cash", not "scrapping for cash"...enough said...

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