ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County School System Board of Education has voted to close Albany High School.
Four Dougherty County board members voted to close Albany High School this year.
They were Milton Griffin, Rev. James Bush, Dr. Dean Phinazee and Geraldine West Hudley.
Velvet Poole, Robert Youngblood and Melissa Strother voted against, filing a motion to delay the closing to next year.
"It has not been an easy journey since we received the information," said Poole, the School Board Chair. "We've looked over all the data, looked at all the information they've given us, answered all of the information for board members and the public."
Following the decision, parents stormed out of the meeting.
"It's not fair at all," said Sabrina Cutts.
"Closing our schools down isn't doing anything but hurting our community and our children," explained Diana Brown.
Carol King's daughter was going to be a senior at Albany High School this fall.
"Right now we are very very dismayed, upset, I don't know how to describe it, emotionally stressed."
She went on to say she is upset with the board members.
"The school board needs to know election time will be coming up and I think the citizens of Albany, Georgia need to really consider that," said King.
It was April 25th when the Dougherty County School System staff made a recommendation to close the school.
They presented the board with a plan showing a decrease in enrollment system wide since 2004. The proposal says the system will save 1.1 million dollars each year by closing the school.
Several public hearings were held to allow parents, students and members of the community to voice their opinions and find out more information.
Brown said saving money shouldn't be the only reason.
"They don't understand the impact that's happening," she said.
School system spokesman J.D. Sumner said in the long-run students throughout the county should benefit.
"We had split schools where half a school would be going to one high school and half going to another.," said Sumner. "Now we have the opportunity to align those together, one middle school to one high school."
Summer school at Albany High School will continue this summer, but the school will not open for the next school year.
Teachers contracts will not be broken.
They will be dispersed to other schools in the system.
Albany High School Rodney Bullard was already chosen to be the new deputy superintendent for the system.
In the coming weeks, school system leaders will realign students system-wide.
Rising seniors at Albany High School will have the option of choosing which high school they would like to attend for their senior year.
School system leaders said they will post realignment updates on their website.
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