Tubman students to move

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Tubman Middle School will be turned into an "educational center" next school year, as its eighth-graders are moved to Laney High School and two schools are freed up for possible sale.

The Richmond County school board approved the changes Thursday night as it moves through its process of "rightsizing" the school system, an effort to use its facilities most efficiently and produce the greatest academic benefits for students.

Beginning next school year, the educational center at Tubman would be used for alternative education, the evening school, the strings program, nontraditional learning for at-risk students and 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

That would require moving eighth-graders, the only traditional students left there next year, to Laney, a move that initially concerned board members.

But Superintendent Dana Bedden said the one-year transition would place the students in a separate wing of Laney, allow them to play junior varsity sports and provide the added academic benefit of easing them into high school.

The board's actions also allow Dr. Bedden to do the following:

- Move the alternative school and the evening school from Bungalow Road to Tubman;

- Move the special needs students at Sand Hills to Terrace Manor Elementary School, a school at 57 percent capacity and which is more centrally located;

- Close Bungalow Road, Forest Hills and Sand Hills, a facility the Georgia Department of Education has been warning Richmond County to close because of its poor condition;

- Use either Bungalow Road or Forest Hills as "swing" space to house students when other schools are being renovated. Sand Hills and either Bungalow Road or Forest Hills could then go up for sale;

- Consolidate Hornsby Elementary and East Augusta Middle schools into a K-8 campus;

- Return Monte Sano, Lamar and Milledge elementary schools to housing grades kindergarten through fifth grade, moving their sixth grades back to the middle school level; and

- Explore the possibility of making Collins Elementary a K-8 school.

Dr. Bedden said it's time to be aggressive with the state planning to make more cuts to education funding and the weak economy.

Program Manager Jeff Baker said construction prices are the best they've been in years and the actions Thursday night allow his staff to lock in better deals to renovate affected schools, including Tubman, while stimulating the economy with millions of dollars of sales tax projects.

With the Academy of Richmond County currently over-enrolled, no high schools are expected to be closed as originally was recommended, Dr. Bedden said.

In a separate vote, the board also authorized attorney Pete Fletcher to meet with Ben Allen, the attorney for the plaintiffs in its long-standing desegregation case, to discuss the rezoning of schools to feed Pine Hill Middle, a school on Brown Road set to open in August.

The school board also approved holding a retreat on Feb. 25 to continue discussing the rezoning for Pine Hill and the rezoning of all of Richmond County to create a school-to-school feeder pattern. Dr. Bedden will also make recommendations for consolidating elementary schools at that time.

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

Comments (25) Add comment
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Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 01/23/09 - 04:45 am
0
0
If Tubman Middle School is

If Tubman Middle School is closed, what happens to Dr. Wayne Frazier?

NEone
6
Points
NEone 01/23/09 - 05:17 am
0
0
Craig: Be patient. Change

Craig: Be patient. Change takes time. That said, I'm glad to see Dr. Bedden doing something besides talk. Maybe he can turn this school system around.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 01/23/09 - 06:45 am
0
0
Sounds like Dr. Bedden is

Sounds like Dr. Bedden is doing what he was hired to do. Working within this system is not an enviable job. What's a school-to-school feeder program?

SCGAL53
0
Points
SCGAL53 01/23/09 - 07:36 am
0
0
They could sell Tubman and

They could sell Tubman and turn it into Harrisburg Lofts

Looking for answers
0
Points
Looking for answers 01/23/09 - 07:48 am
0
0
Hello Dr Bedden , What about

Hello Dr Bedden , What about Trauncy ? That is a big problem here in Richmond County.

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 01/23/09 - 08:28 am
0
0
Let's all pray that Dr.

Let's all pray that Dr. Bedden isn't run out of town. He is doing the right thing for students and taxpayers and we should all be thankful.

Louis E. Svehla
1
Points
Louis E. Svehla 01/23/09 - 09:03 am
0
0
Patricia -- A

Patricia -- A school-to-school feeder is the way that students from a certain school transition to the next. It would help to keep neighborhood schools established and not break up students from certain neighborhoods into different schools. For example, all of the students that go to a certain elementary school would transition to the same middle school, and then to the same high school. In essence, they would always move forward with the same students throughout their primary school years.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 01/23/09 - 09:18 am
0
0
the best "rightsizing" move

the best "rightsizing" move would be to expell all disruptive, violent and students who don't want to learn. that woul eliminate the need for an alternative school. take a ZERO tolererance on any and all students who stand in the way of the learning process. send them back home to their trifling parent(s) to raise.

patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 01/23/09 - 09:18 am
0
0
Thanks Svehla. The

Thanks Svehla. The school-to-school concept seems a natural. Coming from a small town environment, I never experienced anything else. Diverting students to different middle schools and high schools than their contemporaries hardly makes sense.

double_standard
166
Points
double_standard 01/23/09 - 10:11 am
0
0
Tubman has historical value

Tubman has historical value so the board could see very large profit in return.

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 01/23/09 - 10:43 am
0
0
I hope Frazier is coming to

I hope Frazier is coming to Laney with his students.

142
Points
Dan White 01/23/09 - 12:04 pm
0
0
I fear this is a big mistake.

I fear this is a big mistake. The 8th grade girls will be easy fodder for those older students who are predators at Laney and some of those girls will welcome the attention. The 8th graders may be kept in a separate wing, but they will have common areas such as lunch unless they are fed separately too. Maybe it will work. I hope so. But, I foresee more discipline and supervison troubles ahead in additon to the troubles already at Laney among some of their students. But, I have great confidence Dr. Welcher and his dedicated staff can handle it.

JUSTICE187
14
Points
JUSTICE187 01/23/09 - 12:24 pm
0
0
svehla.....with all the

svehla.....with all the changes in the right direction.....what are the plans for the public safety department? Will there be more officers? Can you clear up whether they are security guards or really police officers?

Louis E. Svehla
1
Points
Louis E. Svehla 01/23/09 - 12:42 pm
0
0
I am not sure I can

I am not sure I can completely answer all of your questions. What I can answer to is that we have both guards (Campus Safety Officers) and Police (Public Safety Officers). Public safety officers are stationed at the High Schools and Middle Schools, and there are zone sergeants that patrol the county to be available to go to a number of schools. These public safety officers are trained as police officers and many have worked as police officers for departments. As far as plans, that is information that is personnel related that I have no knowledge of.

JUSTICE187
14
Points
JUSTICE187 01/23/09 - 01:02 pm
0
0
Let me clarify.....is there

Let me clarify.....is there going to be an increase in the number of officers due to gang insurgence, the high rate of crime in Richmond Co., increased school populations etc.?

Keep it real...
0
Points
Keep it real... 01/23/09 - 01:48 pm
0
0
I hope Dr. Frazier is coming

I hope Dr. Frazier is coming to Laney. Dr. Welcher can not handle the ninth graders and they at Laney need someone who can relate to everyone. I hope Laney will return to a building that is well round in more than sports. Good move Bedden!

jackfruitpaper833
41
Points
jackfruitpaper833 01/23/09 - 02:32 pm
0
0
I pray Dr. Frazier is coming

I pray Dr. Frazier is coming to Laney it's time for Dr. Welcher to GO, been time.

blahblah1
0
Points
blahblah1 01/23/09 - 02:52 pm
0
0
I think the concept of the

I think the concept of the "high school transition year" is already in place with some ninth graders in Columbia County and they are kept seperate at nearly all tiems as far as I know. Someone could look into this more but last I heard before I fell out of the loop, it was working.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 01/23/09 - 03:45 pm
0
0
Mr. Svehla, THANKS for being

Mr. Svehla, THANKS for being accessible and informative.

beedell
0
Points
beedell 01/23/09 - 04:59 pm
0
0
Where are the teachers from

Where are the teachers from Tubman and Bungalow Road going? Those are alot of teachers who will need a place to work next school year

mommy22girls
0
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mommy22girls 01/23/09 - 06:46 pm
0
0
My daughters school is one of

My daughters school is one of those schools being torn down and renovated next year and I am praying they are not planning to send them to Bungalow RD!

sand gnat
523
Points
sand gnat 01/24/09 - 01:28 am
0
0
you folks on bungalow road;

you folks on bungalow road; the least of your problems is your school. you haven't had a road for over 2 yrs. every time i come to town, i note that your area is totally neglected by richmond county. i would be outraged! why is this road repair taking so long? i urge you to confront your county commissioners and demand this issue be cleared up now! if the boe sells tubman, you will know that the hustle is on. that's a historical and prime piece of real estate. richmond county has already fell victum to the loss of william robinson school to a questionable deal. these schools are far superior in construction to what is being built today. they also represent the integirity of of neighborhood schools. who is getting well off of these deals? will bungalow road school be the next to fall?

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 01/24/09 - 03:30 am
0
0
The greatest problem with

The greatest problem with Richmond County Schools is language. The teachers do not speak English well thus the students are disadvantaged. Solution: Only hire well spoken teachers and staff. I have a theory that many people of the black population resented white people so much that their attitude enabled "black talk". They wrongly considered speaking English well as 'talking white" Their ignorance in this has caused black people at large much suffering. Now that we have a well spoken black president I sincerely hope that the black population who speaks garbled English will learn to speak proper English. Standard English is neather white or black. It is a language.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 01/24/09 - 06:43 am
0
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"Solution: Only hire well

"Solution: Only hire well spoken teachers and staff." ---- If our WASP owned and operated paper isn't well written, how do you expect we hire teachers and staff any better? It's a symptom of a larger disease, and it's regardless of color. BTW, it's neither, not neather. Remember Spelling, too? ;)

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 01/24/09 - 03:33 pm
0
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SandyK2005 I make no bones

SandyK2005 I make no bones about my academic struggles and my spelling. I am open to correction. I wish that everyone enjoyed remediation and learning. Why do you downplay the importance of well spoken English? Your comment about the newspaper and its relevance to professional educators is absurd. Educators lead the way, not the news publishing houses. I figure that you may be a Unitarian who struggles with socialists leanings. Please get a better grasp of reality.

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