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Firm to propose closing Dougherty Middle, Sylvester Road schools

Magnolia Elementary may be repurposed

ALBANY, Ga. — Dougherty County Schools Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely confirmed Friday that the School Board will hear a presentation in which Atlanta education consultants Kimly-Horn will suggest that Dougherty Middle and Sylvester Road Elementary schools be closed and that Magnolia Elementary be repurposed.

The presentation will be given during the Board's regular meeting scheduled Wednesday at 11:30 at Turner Rd. Elementary.

The most recent enrollment figures available show Doughtery Middle with 533 students, or about 67 percent of building capacity; Sylvester Road at 465 students, or just over 70 percent capacity, and Magnolia at 560 students, or 46 percent capacity.

DCSS Board Chair Carol Tharin said Wednesday that the closures of Dougherty Middle and Sylvester Road and the repurposing of Magnolia would save the system $3 million-$4 million per year.

"We've been facing declining enrollment for the past several years and now we have fewer than 16,000 students in the system," Tharin said. "It's not an easy decision to make, but it's obvious we need to close some schools.

"These are tough decisions we are facing. No one wants to see their neighborhood school go away. We aren't taking this lightly."

The system currently has 16 elementary schools, six middle schools and four high schools.

The subject of repurposing Magnolia was first broached last April. At the time, it was suggested that 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.

In addition, Tharin said that moving the students from the system's Exceptional Students Program on Corn Avenue to Magnolia also could on the table.

Magnolia's current students could then be moved to M.L. King, Live Oak or Alice Coachman elementary schools, all of which are currently operating under capacity. All three of those schools also are in newer buildings that were built after the flood of 1994.

Rezoning of school districts would be necessary.

Last April, then-chairman James Bush offered a blunt assessment of the situation. "We have too many schools and not enough students, and we don't have enough money," he said. "But we have to be fair about it."

Any possible closures would require two advertised public hearings before the board could vote on the matter.

Should the board approve of the closures, any member of the community could file a petition keeping the schools open for the next 30 days. The process would then involve gathering the signatures of 25 percent of the county's registered voters to force a ballot referendum.

Comments

Sister_Ruby 1 year, 11 months ago

I can only hope the Community Ministerial Association will approve of this.

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mrcvsjr 1 year, 10 months ago

Finally something we agree on.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

Sarcasm.......you don't get it.......dope

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dingleberry 1 year, 11 months ago

Why do we have to hire consultants to give us this type information? Isn't it more a matter of trying to cut down on backlash from parents in the affected schools? Yes, James Bush, we need to be "fair about it"--to the taxpayers for a change. Jumping through the hoops mentioned in the article sounds like the USPS--no changes can be made regardless of the economics involved.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 11 months ago

I think this time is different. Many changes are coming for the DCSS

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dingleberry 1 year, 10 months ago

I hope you are right. Fiscal restraint would be very welcome. The new Super will set the tone, when selected.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 10 months ago

Mosely's job is to make the difficult personnel decisions, help the system regain its fiscal footing and lay the foundation for the permanent superintendent.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

So far he's been worth every penny.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 10 months ago

He was hired to do dirty work, not make friends.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

He's my friend already. For life. BFF to the MAX.

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FlunkyMonkey 1 year, 10 months ago

Why should the students on the EAST side be "punished?" Why not redraw the school districts to what they were in the 70s when both Dougherty High and Dougherty Middle were at capacity? Some the students on the east side will spend as much as 45 minutes (and I know this because I live on east side) on a school bus. If school starts at 8:00, these students will have to be on a bus no later than 7:15. Is that conducive to a good learning environment? Then another 45 minutes on the bus home before school work can start....doesn't seem fair when there are several middle schools on the west side that could be looked at. Bus west side students to the east===

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dingleberry 1 year, 10 months ago

That's life Flunky. If the population using the schools, now 87% black, has shifted to other locations, how on earth can we return to lines drawn when the east Albany schools were "at capacity"? This is the problem we have now, doing things that don't make sense because it "doesn't seem fair" as you say. We can neither do nor afford things that are "fair" to all people since we are well beyond reason in determining what constitutes "fairness".

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dingleberry 1 year, 10 months ago

Cut to the chase, Terry. The bottom line on the issue.

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Terry.Lewis 1 year, 10 months ago

Too many schools. Not enough students. Not enough money. Dougherty Middle is running at just over 60% capacity. Sylvester Rd. is just a little better. The East side is losing enrollment faster than the West side.
This has nothing to do with demographics and everything to do with the number of pupils.

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ZCorp 1 year, 10 months ago

2013 is not 1970. We need drastic changes.

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Thurman 1 year, 10 months ago

Once the buildings are empty will Dougherty County have them torn down? Just a standard procedure around here.

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

Good question. Maybe they could be turned into living quarters for those folks trying to ruin Rawson Circle's property values.

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ZCorp 1 year, 10 months ago

This is outstanding and smart move. Bravo!

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dickyboy 1 year, 10 months ago

If closures take place.. where do the staff go? We have teachers, paras, janitorial, cafeteria etc

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

If they's no chillrrunnsess then they's no need for stafffsessess.

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AuntieDee 1 year, 10 months ago

The Hatchet Man is here! Not only is he shifting and closing schools, he's already shifted some staff and demoted others. Check out the latest board agenda. I see Robert Lloyd the former British Finance Director tucked his tail and left for Florida quietly. (Not on the board minutes). He didn't even tell is boss until the day he resigned. My guess is that he knew his had was going to be on the chopping block especially since he was the dummy that signed all the checks to Sabbs and and spent the Federal funds in the wrong place.

I guess we can say he saw the handwriting on the wall!

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Sister_Ruby 1 year, 10 months ago

I think Lloyd did what the Title 1 Funds Director, making a cool $125k per year, told him to do. When you Direct.....well the guy who writes the checks assumes you know the directions on how to Direct (bad assumption, tho!)

Too bad Graper didn't go about 300 miles south of Florida, too.

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bubbasmithredneck 1 year, 10 months ago

ask Lloyd where that 3 million dollars disappeared too before he leaves Terry!!!

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