Parents react to proposed Dougherty Co. school closings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Parents react to proposed Dougherty Co. school closings

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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A proposal to close two east Albany schools and repurpose one in west Albany won't be the only plan Dougherty County School Board members consider.

At a public hearing, Monday night, parents and people who live near those schools encouraged board members to slow down the process and the consultant who came up with the proposal now says he'll look for other options.

"Closing a neighborhood school means we failed that neighborhood," said one parent in front of school board members.

Concerned community members packed Monday's public hearing, spilling into the hallways of the DCSS Administration Building.

They expressed displeasure with a proposal to close Dougherty Middle School and Sylvester Road Elementary and repurpose Magnolia Elementary, sending students and faculty members to other schools. 

The plan would save $2 million a year and $11 Million in SPLOST money for renovations needed at the schools on the closure list.

"The closing of these two schools means our children's future will be further crippled and their education is already very fragile," said another parent.

"Nothing was said about ways of keeping these students in school. We need to find ways to keep them in school," said a community member.

School Board members heard an earful from the crowd.

The two schools proposed to close are in Darrel Ealum's district.  He says the board should look at other alternatives.

"We've got this kind of energy in the room, that alone should tell you that we have a major concern. The message, to me, is loud and clear. We need to slow down and we need to reanalyze what we're doing here," said Ealum.

After conducting an 18 month study, consultant Eric Bosman says other options will be taken into consideration.

"Based on the feedback we received tonight, we'll go back and look at some of those other alternatives and options and see if those better meets the public's expectations. Ultimately that decision will go back to the board," said Bosman.

"Let's consider some ways of getting these kids off the streets into the schools and not trying to close the schools," said another community member.

Parents hope another plan can be proposed soon.

Consultant Eric Bosman assured parents that most students would be transferred together and not split up all over the system and faculty at the closing schools won't lose their jobs.

There will be another public hearing held Thursday at noon.

The board could vote on the plan as early as next Monday.

 

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