Public meetings set on Richmond County school changes

 

The Richmond County Board of Education will hear public input on proposed “rightsizing” scenarios at four town hall meetings starting Monday before voting on whether to merge, consolidate and close several schools.

Philadelphia-based education consultant Bill Montgomery began collecting school enrollment and county population data late last year. In January, he proposed the following scenarios to accommodate population shifts and solve
overcrowding and under-usage issues:

• Reconfigure T.W. Josey High into grades 6-12 to absorb and close Murphey Middle

• Reconfigure Butler High into a 6-12 school to absorb and close Sego Middle

• Close Collins Elementary

• Relocate Rollins Elementary to the Sego building

• Consolidate National Hills and Gar­rett elementary schools by closing Na­tional Hills

• Build a new K-8 school for the growth in west Augusta

• Add a sixth grade to A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School

The planners suggested closing Col­lins because this summer’s demolition of the Cherry Tree Crossing housing complex will leave the school almost devoid of students. Montgomery said the Sego building is a better fit for the Rollins school to accommodate future growth.

The 6-12 schools were pitched to solve enrollment issues at the high schools, which are under capacity, and to expose younger students to more academic opportunities earlier on, Super­in­ten­dent Frank Ro­ber­son said.
The 6-12 concept is a rela­tively rare model nationwide, with 3,106 public schools using it compared with 15,442 with the traditional 9-12 grades, according to the Na­tio­nal Center for Educa­tion Statistics.

Educators have debated the 6-8 middle school model that became popular in the 1970s and are investing more in K-8 schools. Some large districts that built 6-12 schools did so to boost student achievement and solve facilities issues.

Roberson said moving middle school students into a high school setting will give them access to more academic and college-preparation programs.

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IF YOU GO

WHAT: Public hearings on rightsizing scenarios

WHEN, WHERE:

• Monday, 6 p.m.; T.W. Josey High School, 1701 15th St.

• Tuesday, 6 p.m.: Craig Houghton Elementary School, 1001 4th St.

• Feb. 10, 6 p.m.: Butler High School, 2011 Lumpkin Road

• Feb. 11, 6:30 p.m.: Garrett Elementary School, 1100 Eisenhower Drive

More details about rightsizing proposal

More

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