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Rightsizing meeting will discuss Richmond County school closings

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 1:26 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 1:06 AM
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Consultants hired to analyze the Richmond County School System’s neighborhood zoning and building usage will announce suggestions for possible consolidations at a meeting Tuesday.


Tracey McManus
Reporter
Twitter: @aug_mcmanus
E-mail | 706-823-3424

In September, the Board of Education authorized Philadelphia-based Montgomery Education Consultants to begin gathering data on population trends and enrollment.

A focus group consisting of retired educators and community members has met twice to discuss what kinds of roles schools should play in a community and how birth rates and population shifts have affected enrollment.

Using that information, the planners will announce which schools are candidates for closing, merging, consolidating or a number of other scenarios.

The board would then review the suggestions and have another community meeting before developing a five-year, long-range plan of action.

At a meeting Jan. 9, consultant Bill Montgomery said that ideal building use is at 85 percent capacity and that, at 96 to 129 percent capacity, these schools are overcrowded: Bay­vale Elementary, Copeland Ele­mentary, John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet, Langford Mid­dle, Lighthouse Care Cen­ter, Reynolds Elementary, C.T. Wal­ker Elementary Magnet and Warren Road Elementary.

Craig-Houghton Elementary, T.W. Josey Comprehensive High, Rich­mond County Technical Career Magnet and Willis Fore­man Elementary schools are at less than 60 percent capacity.

Planners are taking into account the educational climate, safety and physical conditions of the schools.

Earlier this month, Montgomery praised the system’s transparency in the process by holding community meetings and sharing information.

At the request of the focus group, the board has posted “rightsizing” information on its Web site, along with criteria collected on the schools, population information and research on how school size affects learning.

At the meeting this month, Montgomery and school officials urged the public to review the information before the presentation Tuesday.

“It is a very emotional issue,” Montgomery said Jan. 9. “Many communities pride themselves at having a school in the community. We know it can be a painful subject.”

IF YOU GO

What: Richmond County School System rightsizing meeting

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21

Where: Board of Education, 864 Broad St.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Riverman1
114397
Points
Riverman1 01/20/14 - 02:34 pm
4
2
Time To Start Closing

It's time to start closing down schools, library branches, fire stations, community centers and cutting back street lights in the county.

GnipGnop
13332
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GnipGnop 01/20/14 - 02:37 pm
8
0
So we pay someone

to come in and get community members together to decide? I need a consulting job. These people are getting taxpayer money for basically doing all the legwork.

triscuit
3566
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triscuit 01/20/14 - 04:15 pm
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and as usual, here in RC, we

and as usual, here in RC, we will pay the consultants, then IGNORE their suggestions...wait and see.

GnipGnop
13332
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GnipGnop 01/20/14 - 06:18 pm
2
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I should add

all the legwork for people we either elect or pay to do this...

nocnoc
64505
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nocnoc 01/21/14 - 07:17 am
3
1
I must be missing something

Aren't we being told every week ARC is growing?

Wouldn't we need MORE SCHOOLS if we are growing?

Maybe we are GROWING, but just in Senior Citizens?

Maybe RCBOE is seeing a high drop out rate?

Little Lamb
54298
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Little Lamb 01/21/14 - 09:13 am
2
0
Consolidate

It makes absolutely no sense to have Garrett and National Hills elementary schools so close together. They need to be consolidated into a larger facility at the Garrett site.

The property National Hills elementary sits on is prime residential real estate and should be sold to a private home developer after the BOE has the school building demolished.

Little Lamb
54298
Points
Little Lamb 01/21/14 - 09:15 am
3
0
Consolidate

Josey and Laney need to be consolidated. They just need a tyrant like Ricky Ricardo Azziz to be the muscle man. I'm sure he can come up with a name the community can support.

Little Lamb
54298
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Little Lamb 01/21/14 - 09:23 am
2
1
Smoke and Mirrors

From the story:

Consultant Bill Montgomery said that ideal building use is at 85 percent capacity and that . . . Rich­mond County Technical Career Magnet . . . [school is] at less than 60 percent capacity.

Well, of course RC TCM is under capacity. It is brand new, and the plan is in place to expand it one grade at a time. The plan is working. Take this school off the tweaking list and work on the underperforming schools and the schools that make no logistical sense when you are trying to right-size.

Likewise, don't worry about capacity when dealing with the other magnet schools. Consultant Montgomery put Davidson Magnet and Walker Elementary Magnet on the "over capacity" list, as if they are problems to be dealt with. Nonsense! The school board his total control over those schools as far as enrollment. Those schools are performing fine and need no tweaking. Putting them on some kind of problem list shows lack of understanding on Montgomery's part.

lifelongresident
1329
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lifelongresident 01/21/14 - 09:26 am
1
0
dear nocnoc
Unpublished

rich cnty is growing, just not in the right demographics, the country is growing in crime, illigetimate babies, welfare, foo stamps, crime, project housing, and in leeches, moochers & parasitic broodmares looking only to push out the next child for more foo stamps to use for BBQ's and picnics for "dey next baby daddy". the 2 project high schools laney & josey need to be consolidated and convert one of them into a jail/reform school facility so they can get an early start on what their life will be like "in da hood"

seenitB4
119808
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seenitB4 01/21/14 - 09:58 am
1
0
Well yeah..

“It is a very emotional issue,” Montgomery said Jan. 9. “Many communities pride themselves at having a school in the community. We know it can be a painful subject.”

This mattered to us too in the 60s/70s....OUR neighborhood school---schools that we worked to keep alive & vibrant....BUT that didn't matter THEN....we reap we we sow is soo true...look in the mirror folks....there is 0 way they can keep all the schools open & we all know that.

Dixieman
21543
Points
Dixieman 01/21/14 - 12:05 pm
3
1
Crystal ball foretells the future

Here is the transcript of all future public meetings on this issue, provided in advance as a public service by Dixieman. Now you can skip the meetings but still know what will be said:

"Don't close my kid's school!"
"Don't close my kid's school!"
"Hey, don't close my kid's school either!"
"Yeah, close that other school over there instead!"
"You disagreeing with us? Racist!"

internationallyunknown
6470
Points
internationallyunknown 01/21/14 - 11:49 am
0
3
Race

Since you brought it up...

Two white schools and about 6 black schools were combined, some years ago.

The black schools were forced to stay combined even though it is documented that this was not the best decision for the demographics.

The two white schools were given a pass and deconsilidated....

Racisit is as racist does.

Little Lamb
54298
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Little Lamb 01/21/14 - 12:59 pm
2
0
Names and Dates

It would be better if you named names and dates, InternationallyUnknown. A vague innuendo about racism such as you posted doesn't carry any credibility.

internationallyunknown
6470
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internationallyunknown 01/21/14 - 02:33 pm
0
0
2

Vague to whom...? Look into it yourself. You will find the answers.

Do any of these comments carry any credibility?

http://www.wrdw.com/news/schools/headlines/Parents_of_younger_Collins_El...

Little Lamb
54298
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Little Lamb 01/21/14 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Thank You

Thanks for posting that link, IU. I followed the link and read it. Frankly, I could not find one thing racist about it. There was no allegation of racism by the mom who was unhappy.

The decision to turn the former Collins K-5 school into a K-8 was initially proposed by the Superintendent (who is black) and his staff (who are preponderantly black). The ultimate decision was made by the Board of Trustees, who are elected by the citizens of Augusta (who are majority black), and the resulting Board is racially balanced, get along harmoniously way better than the County Commission, and who overwhelmingly supported the recommendation of the Supt. and his staff.

Where is the racism in this?

internationallyunknown
6470
Points
internationallyunknown 01/21/14 - 04:19 pm
0
0
So as you see it.

Ok, Little Lamb...

corgimom
48466
Points
corgimom 01/21/14 - 07:18 pm
0
0
More and more elementary

More and more elementary schools are going K-8.

Because middle schools don't work, and that's where the school problems really intensify.

Too many children cannot handle the transition to a middle school, it's too much change for them, and they flounder.

And too many of them still need the specialists that are available at the elementary school level, because they are not up to grade level.

The idea is to keep children at one school from K-8, where they can be known individually and their families feel invested in a close neighborhood school.

My son went to a school district that was K-3, 4-8, 9-12 and that worked much better, but I don't see the local schools doing that.

corgimom
48466
Points
corgimom 01/21/14 - 07:26 pm
0
0
"even though it is documented

"even though it is documented that this was not the best decision for the demographics"

Well, the school system is 73% black, and most of the residents of that school zone is black, so how is that not the best decision for the demographics?

That looks to me like a MAJORITY school, not a MINORITY school to me!

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