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School board to weigh closures tonight

More than 150 people crowded into the Dougherty County School System Board room Monday during a public hearing to discuss the possible closure of two schools and repurposing of another. Many could not get into the room and waited outside in the school administration building's lobby. The large turnout prompted authorities to move Thursday's noon hearing to the Governmental Building's city-county commission meeting room.

More than 150 people crowded into the Dougherty County School System Board room Monday during a public hearing to discuss the possible closure of two schools and repurposing of another. Many could not get into the room and waited outside in the school administration building's lobby. The large turnout prompted authorities to move Thursday's noon hearing to the Governmental Building's city-county commission meeting room.

ALBANY, Ga. — After two heavily attended public meetings to gather residents' opinions on possible school closures and consolidation, the Dougherty County School Board will hold a "public information session" at 6:30 p.m. today in the city-county commission chambers of the Government Center, 222 Pine Ave.

"This public meeting will be to discuss suggestions and ideas that arose out of the first two meetings," School Board Chair Carol Tharin said. "Our consultant (Eric Bosman of Kimley-Horn and Associates of Atlanta ) will make a presentation and recommendations based on the feedback from those previous public meetings."

This third meeting will be different in that no public speakers will be allowed. Instead, the board will hear Bosman's recommendations and, for the first time, extensively discuss the possible closures before the public.

Late last month, the School Board heard a recommendation by Bosman that Sylvester Road Elementary and Dougherty Middle schools be closed and Magnolia Elementary be repurposed into a education center that would house four separate programs.

As expected, there was a public outcry and the voices were especially loud on the east side of the Flint River.

Shortly after Bosman's recommendation, District 6 School Board member Darrel Ealum and Ward 1 Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard conducted a news conference at which they urged the School Board to not make hasty decisions.

Both men both represent eastside districts in which Sylvester Road Elementary and Dougherty Middle are located.

"All we want is for the citizens of east Dougherty County is to have their voices heard in these closures," Ealum said at the time. "I think we are moving too quickly and I'd like to slow this train down a little."

"I agree with Darrel that the process is moving too quickly," Howard said. "These closures will impact the surrounding communities and neighborhoods. I'd like for the board to get back with the consultant and see if we can tweak the numbers.

"There is no doubt some schools need to be closed, but why two on the east side?"

The next regular meeting of the School Board is Feb. 27, but Interim Superintendent Butch Mosley said last week he would not place a final vote on the closures on the agenda for that meeting.

The first public hearing was held in the board room of the school administration building, but it proved too small to handle the overflow crowd. Officials then decided to move subsequent meetings to the larger city-county commission chambers.

Another large crowd is anticipated for tonight's meeting.

Comments

dingleberry 1 year, 6 months ago

The BOE is hearing heavily from those who are for keeping the schools open, Those who understand the DCSS financial situation and the life being sucked out of the taxpayers need to make themselves seen and heard or perhaps their interest will not receive adequate consideration.

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 6 months ago

Troll why does an opportunity for a good education scare you?

Just so you know Georgia House bill 140 raised the Private school scholarships from $50 million to $80 MILLION. Any student enrolled in a public school or pre-kindergarten program qualifies for a scholarship. The maximum scholarship amount a student can receive is the average annual amount of state and local expenditures per student. For 2013 the scholarship cap is $9,046. Anyone who pays income taxes in Georgia is qualified for up to a $2,500.oo state income tax reduction a year to be used to pay for a PRIVATE School Scholarship in lieu of paying that amount in state income tax. So you can pay $2,500 in state income taxes for them to waste or you can pay $2,500 to a PRIVATE School Scholarship to help a child get an Education. Give money for a Government to waste vs give money so a child gets an education!!!!!!!

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 6 months ago

just wanted to see what the sensitive REPUBS were gonna say.......you fell for it.....lol

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Abytaxpayer 1 year, 6 months ago

HAHa jokes on you I am a registered Democrat! Difference is I am NOT a Dumbocrat. So why does education scare you Dumbocrat? Informed voters equal better government? Never mind we are back at the better education question.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 6 months ago

Close Deerfield? Why so a charter school can be started in the Northwest quadrant?

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