Dougherty County School Superintendent Joshua Murfree, right, points out numbers on possible FY 2013 budget cuts to BOE member Darrel Ealum, center, as DCSS Director of Public Information R. D. Harter looks on during a board meeting Wednesday at the school administration building.
ALBANY, Ga. — The Dougherty County School Board on Wednesday voted 7-0 to approve an amended Memorandum of Understanding and lease agreement with Albany State University to expand Albany Early College.
The amended agreement stipulates that the DCSS will renovate then lease Andrews Hall for a period of three years at $2,000 per month with a year-to-year option after the lease expires in June of 2015.
The agreement was a drawn-out process and vastly differed from the original MOU set forth in 2008. The AEU, which had occupied the first two floors of the building, will now occupy all three floors and serve eighth- through eleventh-grade students.
While not totally pleased with the agreement, BOE member Darrel Ealum said the building was “bursting at the seams” and was the best deal the school system could cut with the university.
“All of the cost has been shifted to us,” Ealum said. “The original MOU was a two-page document, and Albany State bore the facilities and utilities costs. Now we will bear those costs, plus renovation and rent.
“I don’t feel we are getting a fair shake, but we have to have room for more students.”
Ealum estimates the school system will spend approximately $500,000 to renovate the building and prepare it for students.
According to the school system’s website, the Albany Early College initiative is the result of a longstanding partnership between the DCSS and ASU. The AEC opened its doors in 2008 to serve as an extension program for middle schools in the school system and is designed so that students may earn both a high school diploma and up to two years of credit toward a bachelor’s degree.
AEC’s priority is to serve low-income students, first-generation college students, English language learners and students of color, all of whom are statistically under-represented in higher education, and for whom society has low aspirations for academic achievement.
The MOU and lease agreement will be binding upon ASU’s acceptance of the amended documents.