Study: Valdosta, Lowndes should consolidate schools - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Study: Valdosta, Lowndes should consolidate schools

By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

November 3, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - A study says the Valdosta and Lowndes County school systems should consolidate.

School consolidation has been a controversial topic of debate in the community for years.

The Chamber of Commerce hired the Fanning Institute from the University of Georgia to perform a study to see if a consolidated system would help them recruit new businesses and better diversify the schools.

The 143 page, year long study believes it will.

It says a consolidated system would provide uniformity, a reduction in redundancy and clearer communication.

However it says it could result in fewer programs and declined parental involvement. 

"There is as much information in that study that was against school consolidation as there was for it so I certainly don't think there's a mandate out there for consolidation.  But the bottom line is the chamber isn't the organization that will make that decision.  The citizens of Valdosta in the city limits will make that decision," says Lowndes County Superintendent Steve Smith.

"While they believed that the benefits outweigh the costs, members of communities that have already consolidated asserted that the process is difficult. Long-time residents can be expected to resist the changes to their community. These individuals often think in terms of the just the city or the county. These feelings are intensified when there are racial differences between the city and county or when both districts have strong athletic programs," the study says.

Smith says he will support whatever decision the community and city school system may make.  City Schools superintendent Bill Cason will tell us his reaction Tuesday. 

A public forum will be held Monday November 17th at 6:30 PM at the James H Rainwater Conference to discuss these results in more detail and get community feedback. 

To read more about the study and it's findings, click here.

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