'Rightsizing' criteria OK'd by committee

A committee of the Richmond County Board of Education on Tuesday night tentatively adopted the criteria that will guide its "rightsizing" process, including which schools, if any, to close.

The committee unanimously approved the following criteria: educational climate; schools as centers of the community; school climate and safety; demographics; facility condition, utilization and adequacy; and operational efficiency.

But the document approved by board members, based on community input, emphasizes that decisions will be made in the best interest of the pupil during rightsizing, the process of deciding the best use of the board's facilities.

"Richmond County school system will review and revise its school facilities and their usages due to enrollment decline and demographic shifts but more importantly for the delivery of future educational plans," it states.

The board's considerations will also include school performance and diversity.

In March, MGT of America issued an audit recommending the closing of at least three elementary schools, a middle school and a high school because of declining enrollment and nearly 6,000 empty seats in classrooms.

The full board, which meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, must approve the criteria.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.