Viewpoint: Times change, and schools do, too

Since the Dougherty County School Board voted to close two schools and repurpose another, the system has done an excellent job keeping students and parents informed.

They're holding meetings at nine schools to answer questions and show students, who will be forced to transfer, TO their new schools.

The system hasn't done as well proving to people who live near the closing schools that those buildings won't turn into empty, hulking havens for crime. Leaders say making sure the schools don't sit empty is a priority. Maybe they're working on it behind the scenes, but it needs to be a public effort.

The school board needs to get input community leaders and explore all options. Maybe Phoebe Putney Hospital could turn one school into a clinic. Perhaps, a non-profit group could make it their headquarters or a community center. A developer might even be interested in turning a school into apartments.

There's no reason for the school system to try to make money on the deal. They could essentially give the properties away for the right redevelopment project.

Leaders certainly should leave no stone unturned reaching out to anyone who might be interested in developing the empty buildings into productive facilities that will improve the neighborhoods that are about to be without their longtime schools.