Education

More News | |

Group to focus on rightsizing Richmond County schools

Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 4:08 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 6:01 AM
  • Follow Education

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

Comments (47) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
countyman
20144
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 02:39 pm
1
1
Location

Austin, None of the public housing projects in Richmond County are located in West Augusta, Summerville, or Forest Hills...

I disagree about the majority of Martinez poor living in homes, because they have several older cheaper apartments complexes.. The Wedgewood complex, Ridge Crossing, Apple Cross, Shenandoah ridge, etc....

Little Lamb
46059
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 02:42 pm
0
1
School Mergers

As far as the right-sizing of Richmond County schools, I say that they must bite the bullet and close at least one high school. It is obscene that they have tiny Laney and tiny Josey just blocks from each other. They need to close one and make one school downtown. Josey would be the best choice to disappear because of the embarrassing football team.

They also need to close National Hills elementary school. It's too small and it sits on some quite valuable real estate.

Speaking of real estate, when RCBOE finally grows a pair and closes a school, the Board of Trustees needs to insist that the real estate be sold at public auction pronto before the buildings deteriorate (exhibit A — the old Davidson school on Telfair). They don't need to set any minimum bid. Just offer the properties as is, no warranty, and take the highest bidder, no matter what the bid is.

countyman
20144
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 02:53 pm
1
2
Ironic

Why are people rushing to respond to my comments?

Yet, the poster Thuach112 had the wrong population and income listed for Evans(30809) and nobody said nothing...

How can you turn $91,825 into $95,205? I guess some people will do anything to make Columbia County appear better than reality.

The person also didn't mention 30907 includes more than Martinez.

Riverman1
84150
Points
Riverman1 11/12/13 - 02:59 pm
2
1
Consider the Facts

What we need to do is recognize the data showing Richmond County lost over $800 million in reported income by residents since 1992 and Aiken and Columbia Counties have gained hundreds of millions. That was cut and dried data. IRS statistics.

In addition recognize the truth that RC has lost students as the BOE says in the past few years. Comprehend these things and view the CSRA as a whole. That does not mean someone can't find great, affordable, beautiful housing in Richmond County. Play to the facts. We are an almost half million population that can kick butt with our attributes.

Riverman1
84150
Points
Riverman1 11/12/13 - 03:03 pm
2
1
Countyman, Appreciate Your Efforts

Countyman, I appreciate your efforts for Richmond County in the face of facts that have surfaced recently such as the IRS and school board data mentioned here. Keep up the optimistic good work. Your people deserve public transit, health care and housing.

countyman
20144
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 03:18 pm
1
3
Facts

Since 1992? The article you provided is for 1992-2010, and I'm sure you didn't want people to think they included 2010-2013...

The lost of wealth can be different for many communities including one's with large transient populations(Fort Gordon).

redfish
640
Points
redfish 11/12/13 - 03:39 pm
1
0
Back to the schools...

I hate to break up the Richmond vs Columbia spat, but the reality is; RC needs to close and consolidate some schools. Laney is a very small high school, so is Josey. It would make sense to combine them into one. National Hills and Garrett elementary are too close together and should be combined. Warren Road elementary is approaching overcrowded and could stand some rezoning to ease the situation. Richmond Academy is bursting at the seams, maybe some students could be rezoned to Laney or Josey?

These are the schools I am aware of. I am sure there are schools on the South side that are equally under utilized. My prediction is that the RCBOE will hold meetings, pay some out of town company a huge sum of money for a study, hold some community meetings, and do absolutely nothing.

I am not surprised the school population of RC has dropped by 2500. RC is an older community than CC or AC. I don't think the RC students have moved to other communities, they have simply aged out of the school system and there are not enough new families with children moving into RC to replace the kids who age out. As the state adjusts the money sent to RC to reflect the new enrollment numbers, the RCBOE will have no choice but to downsize the system. The RCBOE has the opportunity to do this on their own before funding reaches a crisis, but if their past actions are any indication; they will do nothing until they have no option and the results will be far worse than if they address the problem now.

Riverman1
84150
Points
Riverman1 11/12/13 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Shutting down some RC schools

Shutting down some RC schools only makes sense with its loss of students.

Riverman1
84150
Points
Riverman1 11/12/13 - 04:31 pm
2
1
Countyman, if the statistics

Countyman, if the statistics listed had been to 2913 I would have listed them. What it did study was from 1992 until 2010 (thank you Harley). I listed what was presented. The fact is RC is now saying they are down 2500 students. Whatcha gonna do?

thauch12
6677
Points
thauch12 11/12/13 - 06:06 pm
1
1
No countyman, my facts and

No countyman, my facts and figures are actually correct according to the census. I included the population and median incomes for Martinez (and not simply the 30907 zip code) and Evans (and not the entire 30809 zip code) specifically as CDPs not merely zip codes. The best metric we have for "west Augusta" is the 30909 zip code.

I may have been a little unclear on that point, but if you search both Martinez and Evans on the census website, you will see that my numbers are all correct as originally posted, but nice try countyman!

thauch12
6677
Points
thauch12 11/12/13 - 06:05 pm
1
1
Shooting yourself in the foot

Also it's really interesting that countyman chooses to use trulia.com to prove a point when just a few weeks ago, these words were uttered by him:

"Those websites only show a few of the homes for 'sale'...I also don't have to rely on any websites when I'm already very familiar with the real estate in metro Augusta."
-countyman (10/20/13 - 05:22 pm)

Source: http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/metro/2013-10-19/analysis-shows-top-si...

Anyway, the facts and numbers simply don't lie regardless of how anyone (well one person in this case really) wants to spin them. The money is in Martinez-Evans.

Does this mean the sky is falling and Augusta is going to the dogs? No of course not, but only a fool would try to ignore the obvious.

countyman
20144
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 08:10 pm
1
2
Facts

The CDP doesn't include all of the population in Evans. The population of 29k is very small when 125k people live in Columbia County, and the majority is concentrated within Evans/Martinez.

What other area of Columbia County uses the 30809 zip code except for Evans?

How did you determine that 30909 is the best metric for West Augusta? The 30907 zip code includes West Augusta and 30909 includes multiple areas besides West Augusta.

The information you provided from Trulia was in relation to specific neighborhoods and the homes for sale in one neighborhood at that time. The information I provided covers much larger areas... Their are tons of more homes for sale in the entire area of Evans for example compared to one specific neighborhood.

Why is Whole Foods, Cabela's, the movie theater, etc coming to West Augusta/North Richmond if the money is only located in Evans or Martinez?

countyman
20144
Points
countyman 11/12/13 - 08:54 pm
1
2
Facts

What exactly am I spinning?

Why accuse somebody of ignoring the obvious and then portray zip code 30909 is West Augusta by itself? Why not mention zip code 30909 includes other areas and 30907 includes West Augusta?F

Gage Creed
17273
Points
Gage Creed 11/12/13 - 10:36 pm
0
1
FACTS are pesky things!

game...set...match...

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 02/04/14 - 03:20 am
0
0
Summerville 317,562 Forest

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

Evans 295,684
Martinez 233,958

Countyman, compare how big Summerville, Forest Hills, and West Augusta is, versus Evans and Martinez. You cannot accurately compare the two. Evans and Martinez are municipalities, Summerville, Forest Hills, and West Augusta are relatively small parts of RC. Compare the population. Compare the number of houses.

And then take into account that there are many lower-priced houses in Martinez to pull their numbers down.

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 02/04/14 - 03:23 am
0
0
Why is Whole Foods, Cabela's,

Why is Whole Foods, Cabela's, the movie theater, etc coming to West Augusta/North Richmond if the money is only located in Evans or Martinez?

To get all of that Aiken County money. This is a no-brainer. RC is the poor kid with the rich kids on either side of him.

Those median income census figures don't lie.

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 02/04/14 - 03:34 am
0
0
Trulia has my house listed as

Trulia has my house listed as worth $163,000.

It is assessed at $93,600. The house 2 doors down just sold 6 weeks ago for $120,000.

Even in my wildest dreams, my house isn't, and never has been, worth $163,000. If I could get that, I'd sell this house tomorrow.

My late mother in law's house is listed at $145,000. It sold in 2011 for $85,000.

In short, those Trulia valuations are absolutely WORTHLESS and cannot be relied upon for anything.

corgimom
32615
Points
corgimom 02/04/14 - 03:36 am
0
0
"Your people deserve public

"Your people deserve public transit, health care and housing."

The public transit isn't ever going to happen.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs