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Large crowd turns out for school closure hearing

Eastside resident and former Dougherty County Board member Michael Windom was one of many to express concerns of possible school closures during a public meeting before the school board Monday evening. The BOE is considering closing Sylvester Road Elementary and Dougherty Middle School and repurposing Magnolia Elementary.

Eastside resident and former Dougherty County Board member Michael Windom was one of many to express concerns of possible school closures during a public meeting before the school board Monday evening. The BOE is considering closing Sylvester Road Elementary and Dougherty Middle School and repurposing Magnolia Elementary.

ALBANY, Ga. — Due to the large crowd that attended Monday’s public hearing concerning proposed school closures, Thursday’s second public hearing has been moved to the downtown Governmental Center’s commission meeting room (Room 100). The meeting remains scheduled for noon.

Dougherty School Board Chairwoman Carol Tharin said any citizen wishing to speak before the board must completely fill out a signed speaker request form and turn it in before 12:05 p.m. Thursday.

Speakers will be limited to three minutes each.

The decision to move the hearing from the school administration board room to the commission meeting room was made after more than 150 people crammed into the board room on Monday. Many could not get inside the room and were forced to wait in the lobby.

On Wednesday of last week, the School Board voted to accept a consultant’s plan to close Sylvester Road Elementary and Dougherty Middle schools and to repurpose Magnolia Elementary.

Sylvester Road and Dougherty Middle are in District 6, which is represented by board member Darrel Ealum

“I counted around 200 folks (at the Monday hearing) and most were from the eastside,” Ealum said. “I am proud that folks from the eastside and District 6 stood up and were counted. They sent a message loud and clear that before two of three schools are closed in one district, the plan needs a closer look.”

The board cloud vote on the closings as early as its next regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, or it could delay the vote for further study.

Comments

PatrickY2K 1 year, 7 months ago

"Other alternatives" to date has meant furlough the faculty and staff more than other school systems, making it difficult to attract and retain teachers and shortening the school year for students. The DCSS has more schools than the student population warrants. Let the Board do the right thing!

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PatrickY2K 1 year, 7 months ago

The concerned parents don't seem to care WHAT is being taught, just WHERE, so keep cutting programs, doing without materials, and underpaying teachers. When the DCSS continues to underperform, remember when the Board tried to do the right thing.

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chinaberry25 1 year, 7 months ago

I just got an email that states getting an education has to be earned. Not given. Veterans earned that right for us to sit in a desk and get a free education. Wonder how many of you oppose this right have ever earned it? Do you also pay your fair share of taxes? Are your kids on the honor roll or like some who ride the bus everyday and sneak off campus until the day ends and spend the day at someone's house doing whatever. People do not like change, but you voted for change and change is what you will get. You are not going to like it, but that is life. Until Albany becomes a thriving city and creating an atmosphere that folks want to locate here, this is what you will have to deal with. When Westover was built, they had the same problem. Get over it.

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RedEric 1 year, 7 months ago

These meetings are good. They allow venting and can be considered " brain storming" sessions where most ideas are junk, but one may spark an alternative. Consolidation is tough. After a period of adjustment people find most of their concerns were nothing to worry about. Also, it is good to get this many people interested in how their schools are run

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KaosinAlbany 1 year, 7 months ago

If only a crowd like this would take interest in the City Commission meetings. Then perhaps corruption wouldn't run rampant. It is good to see this many people in the community come together, but if the schools aren't being utilized at full capacity then it would be a waste to keep them open.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 7 months ago

I'm not sure if these concerned parents are worried about their child's education as much as how the parents think they will be inconvenienced with a new school for little Timmy.

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dingleberry 1 year, 7 months ago

From what we have been given, the proposed changes make sense. The purported savings are heavily skewed by renovations that won't need to be made and whether those saving can be made if other building can be selected certainly needs to be considered. But at the end of the process, regardless of what schools are chosen, people will not be happy so let's maximize the savings and let the complaints begin.

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B4it 1 year, 7 months ago

"These closures will mean that our children's futures will be crippled even further," Primrose said to a chorus of "That's right!" from around the packed board room. "Closing these schools amounts to cruel and unusual punishment for our children. Their future is on hold. Now somebody tell me what is wrong with this picture?"

What is wrong with this whole statement is more shallow-minded ranting, including those ranting the chorus of "that's right!". It makes it sound like those kids affected by closing a school will no longer be allowed to go to school. How ridiculous!!!! If the kids are relocated to another school, how is this cruel and unusual punishment? And why would this put a kid's future on hold? Again, these emotional, factless and false statements are ridiculous!!!!

As long as the School Board is honestly looking at all of the available alternatives, then congratulations to them for trying to make the right decisions to cut expenses.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 7 months ago

Free education and free lunches. Shut up. Bathe and dress your kids and get them to the bus stop. It's an inconvenience I'm sure but move on. I got on the bus at 6:45 am in the country and my parents thought it was the greatest thing since a toilet in the house. You dumb, ignorant, spoiled people!

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Support 1 year, 7 months ago

The alternative to keeping all the schools open is higher taxes for the few that pay property taxes. Of the 96,000 residents in Albany, less than 15,000 pay property taxes. Another alternative is layoffs, which will affect the economy in the Albany area.

There is no easy solution. People don't want schools closed, they don't want higher taxes and they don't want layoffs.

Something has to give.

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Support 1 year, 7 months ago

I don't think East Albany is being targeted. The people of east Albany must realize that the population has shifted to North Albany or across the flint river. That's a fact.

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Bulldawg 1 year, 7 months ago

I cannot believe that these "concerned" citizens at this meeting think that their kids would have no place to attend school if their school is closed. The affected students would be sent to another school in the city. No big deal. This is the type of idiodic thinking is what is what is wrong with this city. Students earn their education, it is not given to them with no effort on their part. Albany has too many people in the wagon and not enough people pulling the wagon. The city has to save money plain and simple, and school consolidation would be a good way to save money.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 7 months ago

Yeah are they THAT stupid? Looks like it...........

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PatrickY2K 1 year, 7 months ago

It's already been determined that closing these schools would save money. The Board shouldn't be looking for ALTERNATIVE ways to save money, they should be looking for ADDITIONAL ways to save money.

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43cop 1 year, 7 months ago

I am willing to bet that the majority that are complaining DO NOT pay one red penny in school taxes when families like mine are paying a large tax bill and have never had a child in public schools in Dougherty County. Let the DCSC do their job because if any schools are going to be closed, it will make a certain group mad, but save tax payers (18%) money and that 18% are the ones educating these young people. As long as a school can have the space and teachers to educate these young people, then send them to that school. When I was growing up, I rode a school bus many miles to get a education and the educating of our young people is all that counts.

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waltspecht 1 year, 7 months ago

This whole thing is a matter of convienance over cost savings. There just isn't the money out there to continue to accomodate all the wishful thinking of the people. Someone needs to open their eyes and realize that the money is drying up. Someone had better be doing something before chaos rules. That is what a Business Plan is all about. It is time all the School Boards in this area came out with a business plan that they can be held accountable to.

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VSU 1 year, 7 months ago

I imagine some of these so called concerned parents don't pay property taxes so it does not matter to them if money and taxes are wasted in keeping these unneeded schools open. It only makes sense to cut the cost instead of raising taxes. It's a big waste to keep an entire school open that is at half capacity. Some people just want tp spend spend spend instead of save save save, that is part of the problem our country faces now.

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beenhereawhile 1 year, 7 months ago

Very good comments by all. The problem is that the 95% who support the plan are not the ones showing up at the meetings. I hope the school board understands this.

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whattheheck 1 year, 7 months ago

Those who show up and are vocal are the squeaking wheel and get the grease. Those who pay the bills and don't show up get the shaft. We should have learned this over the years as those in positions handling public monies have raided the treasury with impunity while we worked and did not openly complain. If you don't complain. you must be happy

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AuntieDee 1 year, 7 months ago

I wonder if these concerned parents would show up for PTO.

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Black_Falcon 1 year, 7 months ago

The bigger problem will be where to "bus" the students whose schools are closed. Some folks are all for school closings, just as long as the students don't show up at their front door.

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Sherwood_Eagle_Alum 1 year, 7 months ago

Oh, so now you are "concerned" with your child's education?

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Ihope4albany 1 year, 7 months ago

I attended the school board public hearing on Monday. I don't have children and I pay property taxes through my monthly rental lease. From the fiscal, enrollment, and space underutilization data presented, closing/consolidation/repurposing stratgies are needed. However, the issue becomes the best way to do it without creating further economic and social imbalances in the City/County. Further consideration should be given to halt the disinvestment in East Albany-Dougherty (DOCO).

Communities have to realize that they are subject to the same law of physics that apply to a ship or plane-- too much weight (distress) on one end and not too much weight (distress) on the other end will end in a disastrous result for everyone in the community as those on the ship or plane, sinking or crashing.

I hope for Albany-Dougherty that we will choose not to sink or crash.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 7 months ago

the dollar bill will win this battle......DCSS is broke and needs cash!!

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WTFwtf 1 year, 7 months ago

Pack it in east albany. You r basically totally irrelevant in local state national and international affairs that matter. The armpit of the armpits armpit

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