0

BOE: Magnolia may be ‘repurposed’

Magnolia Elementary School supporter Lee Don speaks before the Dougherty County School Board Thursday as Board members Carol Tharin and Milton “June Bug” Griffin listen. The Board held a special called meeting to get public input into the possible closure of Magnolia.

Magnolia Elementary School supporter Lee Don speaks before the Dougherty County School Board Thursday as Board members Carol Tharin and Milton “June Bug” Griffin listen. The Board held a special called meeting to get public input into the possible closure of Magnolia.

ALBANY — Dougherty County School System Executive Director of Finance and Operations Robert Lloyd said Thursday that the system could save $950,000 per year and $8.5 million in SPLOST money if the Board of Education decided to ‘repurpose’ Magnolia Elementary School.

“We took a look at the numbers and the option that kept coming back to us was repurposing Magnolia,” Lloyd said during a special called BOE meeting Thursday. “This is no reflection on the staff at Magnolia, this is pure economics.”

Lloyd said the system, which is facing declining local tax revenues and state austerity cuts, could save money by moving students from Oak Tree Psychoeducational Center and the county’s Pre-K program from the old Sylvandale School to Magnolia.

The DCSS would then move half of Magnolia’s students to Alice Coachman and the other half to M.L. King. Sylvandale would then probably be closed. Over the past eight years, the school system has lost $60 million to state austerity cuts, Lloyd said.

“There is still renovation work to be done at Magnolia, but it wouldn’t be anywhere close to $8.5 million. We could apply those savings to the general fund,” Lloyd said.

As for Magnolia’s teachers, Lloyd said they “would follow the student,” and there would be other K-5 teaching positions available for them to apply to within the system

Several concerned citizens spoke on behalf of keeping the school open.

“My pot doesn’t get stirred very often, but if you talk about kids, the education of kids, the loving and caring of kids, then my pot gets stirred,” Magnolia supporter Lee Don said. “I think we need a local study to come up with a five-year plan to solve our problems in Dougherty County. Let’s see what we can do budget-wise.

“Please save Magnolia School.”

Joyce Polite-Davis also expressed concern about a possible closure.

“Magnolia is a school Dougherty County needs,” she said. “It’s a school other schools should pattern themselves after.”

Board member Anita Williams-Brown urged the crowd to be patient.

“I really have mixed emotions with this decision,” Williams-Brown said. “Everybody is doing a wonderful job at Magnolia, and I understand both sides of this issue. We are trying to decide what’s best for the students.

“I’ve been right there with you in the closing of schools before. I’m asking that you give us an opportunity to make some decisions. We have heard you.”

Board Chairman James Bush was a bit more blunt that his colleague.

“We have too many schools and not enough students, and we don’t have they money,” Bush said. “But we have to be fair about it.”

Board member Carol Tharin agreed with the chairman.

“Unlike the federal government, we cannot operate with a deficit,” she said. “These are tough decisions we are facing. No one wants to to see their neighborhood school go away. We aren’t taking this lightly.”

Tharin then asked DCSS attorney Tommy Coleman what is involved in closing a school.

Coleman answered that two advertised public hearings were necessary before the Board could vote on closure.

Should the BOE later approve of closure, any member of the community could file a petition keeping the school open for the next 30 days. The process would then involve gathering the signatures of 25 percent the county’s registered voters and could eventually be decided by a ballot referendum.

“All in all there are no easy answers,” local activist William Wright said. “The crux of the problem is financial, but if we close a school this year, what school will it be next year?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbOYTIVvoS0

Comments

Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

Does this mean all kindergarteners in the city will go to Magnolia? Will Momma and Gramma put their babies on a bus without big brother or big sister who goes to the elementary school? Doesn't kindergarten require rest rooms in the rooms? Won't this cost alot more to accomplish than it costs right now?

0

everybodysnuts 2 years, 3 months ago

This is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. What idiot would propose this idea?!? How is repurposing a building and its employees in any way going to save 8.5 million dollars? With all kindergarteners attending the same school, you also have to have the appropriate staff at that school to teach the children...does this mean you would have a county-wide transfer of staff throughout the school system? Think before you speak....PLEASE! People's livelihoods are at stake here, not to mention the quality of education of our children.

0

TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

The 8.5 million is SPLOSH funds. It will be spent in the school system but not at Magonlia to bring it up to standards. Guess kindergarten children don't have to have updated facilities.

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

I'm thinking they suggested to do the worst possible thing so that when they come up with the next option, we will agree, cause ANYTHING would be better than this!

0

amoore7 2 years, 2 months ago

I agree with you! This is ridiculous!

0

TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

I think Lloyd is trying to pull a rabbit out of his hat and make that $8.5 million renovation at Magnolia disappear and use it for repurposing to the Career Academy, another money drain on DCSS.

0

jglass 2 years, 3 months ago

I would also like to know if this will house ALL of the kindergarten children in the county and how they will get to that location. I cannot imagine those small children on a bus without older siblings. And, I cannot imagine parents driving them to and from school daily. This does not sound like a money saving venture to me. Please do not do something that will end up costing more money and try to cover it up.

0

darnette0101 2 years, 3 months ago

Isn't Sylvandale a school that has kindergarten? If the make Magnolia a kindergarten school, what will happen then? That will be another school that will have to be re-purposed.

0

mrcvsjr 2 years, 3 months ago

I thought the article read Pre-K and not kindergarten..........

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

It does now... I hate when they change the story and keep all the comments, then the comments make no sense with the new story.

Okay, at the end of THIS story it says we need 2 public hearings, then at least 30 days incase anyone protests with petition, etc. (which is more than likely gonna happen), AND, school will be out in 4 weeks. This tells me that this won't happen this school year, because major renovations will have to happen, plans will need to be drawn up, work will have to be put out for bid, certain building materials will have to be removed before construction can begin, and so on and so fourth... Right?

0

Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

If and when anything happens it will most likely be for the 2013-14 school year. What many don't seem to acknowledge is that the DCSS has excess capacity at the elementary and middle school levels.

0

coachjohnson42 2 years, 3 months ago

Has the system considered getting a loan?

0

ustaknow 2 years, 3 months ago

No loans, the last thing we need is to add debt and the interest that comes with it. have we considered cutting administration salaries?

0

Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

They already do it. Those "loans" are called "bonds."

0

Shinedownfan 2 years, 3 months ago

Terry, what about Sherwood? Why cant someone ask them to sell Sherwood to Sherwood Church... they already rent some of it out, and they have wanted it for years? This will save money AND earn money from the sale of the school. The kids could go to Live Oak, the new school...

0

Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Ninety percent of the DCSS budget is personnel costs - to the tune of $9 million per month. No one wants to touch staff because the DCSS is the largest "jobs" program in the county. It's really as simple as that.

0

TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

Offer a early buy-out on anyone within 3 years of retirement requirments. See how many you get. Then DO NOT replace them. People with 30 years at DCSS need to go.

0

Terry.Lewis 2 years, 3 months ago

Actually there is a unique opportunity to reduce staff through the CRCT tribunals ... if they ever come to pass.

0

myside 2 years, 3 months ago

Another example of the school board having its interest in money and changes rather than any sensible effort to educate the kids. Their projections do not match the outcome of their actions.

0

TheBoss 2 years, 3 months ago

For once I agree with Willam Wright

0

amoore7 2 years, 3 months ago

Closing Magnolia does not fix any issues the school system is having. My children attend Magnolia Elm. and we love it! To just say that they can be rezoned as if its no big deal is to be insenistive to our children needs. What about quality education? Should our children have to suffer a good education because our leaders in the community do not know how to budget money! Have we the people, the mothers, fathers and children have no voice? Should we have to allow our teachers to be moved and "reapply" to others schools, because "you feel it's best"? Our students, my children are the ones being affected by this and they are terrified! Everything is always about saving money, well once you save the money where will it go? who wins in this choice? how will you maintain classroom size? how will save money by busing children who normally walk to school everyday? you will still have to fill buses with gas! how will you handle extended day options for parents who work? EX: students who may attend the boys and girls club.. This makes no sense! Do you have a child that attends any of these schools? I am a mother and I will stand and come against this! I will "Save our School"!

0

Sign in to comment