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Stage set for school closure public hearings

The Fayette County School System is preparing for two public hearings to be held Feb. 14 and 25 on recommendations to close up to four of the county’s public schools. The public hearings will be held at Sams Auditorium located at 205 LaFayette Avenue in Fayetteville. School system spokesperson Melinda Berry-Dreisbach said doors to the auditorium will open at 6 p.m.

The purpose of the hearings will be to allow a full discussion of the superintendent’s recommendation to close some or all of the following schools: Tyrone Elementary School, Brooks Elementary School, Fayette Middle School and Fayetteville Intermediate School.

And though the agenda has not been set, the school board’s regular meeting on Feb. 11 will also be held at Sams Auditorium.

The January meeting held at that location saw approximately 900 people attending, with most of those present to hear more about the school closures and other cost-cutting measures that will lead to approximately $15 million in cuts from the 2013-2014 budget. Of that amount, more than $11 million deals with the elimination of up to 250 jobs.

Berry-Dreisbach said that if the school closure recommendation is approved, the students currently attending Tyrone Elementary would attend either Crabapple Lane Elementary School or Robert J. Burch Elementary School; those attending Brooks Elementary would attend either Peeples Elementary School or Inman Elementary School; those attending Fayetteville Intermediate School would attend either North Fayette Elementary School, Hood Avenue Primary School, or Spring Hill Elementary School; and those attending Fayette Middle School would attend Bennett’s Mill Middle School.

The new but under-utilized River’s Elementary School is out of the picture since it may become a college campus (See nearby story).

A recommended map of the new attendance zones, which would be presented to the school board for approval if the recommendation is adopted, can be reviewed at all Fayette County public schools, at the LaFayette Education Center, Bldg. D, located at 205 LaFayette Ave., Fayetteville; and at the county office located 210 Stonewall Avenue in Fayetteville. Maps can also be viewed on the school system website at www.fcboe.org.

In each case elementary schools will be composed of grades K-5 and maintained at a size not to exceed 800 students and middle schools will be composed of grades 6-8 and maintained at a size not to exceed 1,400 students. There are no construction projects contemplated in order to complete these moves, Berry-Dreisbach said.

The school board has not yet determined the future use or disposal of the property on which these schools are located if the facilities are no longer needed for their present purpose, said Berry-Dreisbach. Possible plans would include use by the school system for other instructional or administrative purposes, lease or conveyance to governmental entities for other community purposes or lease or sale to private entities or individuals, she said.

All speakers at the public hearings will be asked to sign in between 6-7 p.m. and only those who have signed in prior to the meeting will be allowed to speak. Guidelines for speakers will be posted on www.fcboe.org and available at the hearings. The school board also requests written comments or suggestions regarding these plans. Such written comments can be sent to Melinda Berry-Dreisbach, Public Information Specialist, 210 Stonewall Ave., Fayetteville, GA 30214 or emailed to berrydreisbach.melinda@mail.fcboe.org.

Comments

As much as I hate to see the closure of Brooks Elementary I was relieved to see some of the students would be transferred to Peeples which is so close to the western edge of brooks and the padgett road area. We actually moved here for Starrs Mill HS which you can practically walk to from our home but then they built WHS.

rmoc, did you know that the Brooks students that will be sent to Peeples will still go to Whitewater MS and HS? The district refuses to change the "original feeder pattern". All tax payers in the county need to be aware of the facts with the proposed school closures and the board/school district has NOT been transparent with the information. I encourage everyone to question the information that is being presented as closing schools will affect the ENTIRE county.

How has the Board NOT been transparent? The most recently proposed lines have been available since 2/4/13. They have been posted on the FCBOE website, at most (if not all) of the schools, and the School Board offices. Let's stick to the facts and leave out the innuendo.

I am fed up too. I wasn't referring to the redistricting lines....I have been to all of the board meetings recently and know a lot about the lines and have the maps. I am talking about the information that the district is publishing, or shall I say NOT publishing about school closures. The numbers do not add up, and they will not let the tax payers know any details about the business cases used for this proposal. We have also asked for the bus routes to be published in relation to the proposed closures and haven't seen that either.

How embarrassing! I used to be so proud to be a product of this system. Now I am not so sure! We have lost a lot of prestige.

americanpatriots's picture

Last night's meeting was a mind-numbing experience.

I left at 10 pm so I don't know how much longer it went on, but there were still people left in the public comment session and then the board had to go into executive session afterwards.

Go to the fcboe.org website to review the items presented at the meeting last night. https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/ViewMeetingOrder.aspx?S=4067...

View the financial report: https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=4067&AID=4...

The general fund balance for June 30, 2013 is projected to be $7,070,950 vs. a budget forecast by Laura Brock and Jeff Bearden of $800K - a whopping difference of $6.3 million!

In July, I predicted the fund balance at 6/30/13 would be between $8 and $10 million and that prediction appears to be on tract. Dana Camp and Joseph Jarrell predicted the balance would be between $10 an $12 million and they could be closer to the number than I am. In any event, the sky isn't falling as much as Brock and Bearden would have had us believe.

Dan Sweat's recommendations, supported by Dan Colwell, Tom Gray and their staff, to close four schools and sell Rivers are the only SENSIBLE course of action that will help us close the $15 million budget shortfall next year and beyond.

Mary Kay Bacallao has come up with several plans, none of which solve the $15 million budgets shortfall, so we need to tune her out and get solidly behind Dan's recommendations.

Jim Richter, PTC

I have been reading all I can about this, redistricting, school closures. I've bitten my tongue until now. The other day my child came home from school talking about it, she was extremely upset. A lot of parents are upset, I understand. Some are moving, just across the boarder because of "better sports" which we all know is a bunch of bull. When she came home and other kids were telling her she was going to be with stupid kids that cause trouble and are going to make her school awful, I was beyond upset. It's not coming out of the mouths of parents, but kids who are listening to their folks. "We don't want those people in our school" "if we have to walk away from our homes we will" I'm concerned about our property values as well, but some people are walking away from their homes and driving the price down as well. My kids will get a good education regardless, I will see to it. For those that want to move, If I can help you pack feel free to let me know.

is just sticking it to the FCBOE in an editorial. This is what it has come to. They don't even put a name or a face to the editor. And they call that journalism? Pathetic.

Not sure how you define "sticking it to" but reads more to me like a "Damn, we're good!" story--and perhaps justly deserved.

I agree with AHG. The article is no different than editorials from FC comparing us to others. Guess we all get a little thin skinned when we aren't shed in a positive light.

Wouldn't want to live there as it reminds me of Henry 15 years ago....big interstate corridor that is getting WAY overgrown. They better watch out over there....

Let the first perfect County start casting stones..

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