Should Valdosta, Lowndes schools consolidate? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Should Valdosta, Lowndes schools consolidate?

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

November 4, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Should schools in Valdosta and Lowndes County consolidate? A study says yes. But the Valdosta School System says not yet.

The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a study to see if a consolidated school system would help attract industries, diversify the schools, and better the community.

The study took nearly one year to complete and believes it could.

Valdosta City schools says the county and school system isn't ready for this kind of change.

But the task force looking into the study says whether they consolidate or not, something must be done to improve graduation rates and AYP.

"We need to take a look at all the issues involved and address those before we can jump into that process, even to explore it more," says Valdosta School Superintendent Bill Cason.

"What it does show is that unification does present some unique opportunities to impact some of the situations in our school system and community," adds Leroy Butler of the School Study task force.

At this point, the Chamber has not made any decision on whether to endorse either type of school system.

Right now, the Chamber is encouraging the community to visit their Web site (www.valdostachamber.com), review the results of the School System Study, and submit their questions, comments, suggestions, etc. The information will be compiled anonymously by the Fanning Institute, and will be used to prepare the interactive town hall meeting, scheduled for Monday, November 17, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the Conference Center.

During the meeting, the Fanning Institute will conduct interactive "seminars" to gain feedback from participants. This information will serve as a vital component in finalizing the plan of action for the Chamber's School System Task Force.

After the meeting, the School System Task Force will take all of the information from the study, the town hall meeting, the suggestions of Carl Vinson institute and Fanning Institute, and prepare a final proposal to be presented to the Chamber's Board of Directors.

The School System Task Force will present their findings to the Board of Directors at the November 20 monthly Board meeting. A final recommendation will come from there.