The first public hearing regarding proposed school closures and redistricting of schools is taking place August 30 starting at 7 p.m. in the Fayette County High School cafeteria.
For the past few months the Fayette County Board of Education has been reviewing the possible school closings to help the system make up for shortfalls in the board’s budget for the 2013-14 school year.
Bearden suggested closing three schools – Hood Avenue Primary, Fayetteville Intermediate and Fayette Middle School and opening Rivers Elementary School - to save the school system approximately $1.6 million per year.
By the time the board had reviewed the original discussion, Bearden was left with other scenarios - closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers; the original proposal, plus closing Tyrone Elementary; the original proposal plus closing Brooks Elementary; and, fourth, the original proposal and closing both Brooks and Tyrone Elementary.
At its August 6th meeting, however, board members Marion Key and Dr. Bob Todd noted they weren’t happy with the proposed scenario that included essentially closing the same three schools - Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue and Fayetteville Intermediate - and populating Rivers Elementary School.
Todd specifically had a different scenario in mind - closing Inman Elementary School, consolidate Fayette Intermediate and Hood to have two buildings on the same campus with a capacity of 951 students - and leave Rivers as it is.
The other option, he said, is to close Brooks, Tyrone and Inman.
After a lengthy and heated discussion the board opted to add Inman Elementary School to the list of proposed school closings and allow the redistricting committee to review five different maps for redistricting possibilities.
The board also agreed on the following parameters for the work of the committee: it will serve as a voluntary advisory committee and will work with the superintendent and his staff on creating four options for board consideration; look at the entire system during the redistricting process and make any recommended changes that the committee believes will lead to greater efficiencies; work to protect the integrity of neighborhoods/subdivisions; will use the “Cluster” model in attempt to develop logical feeder patterns; will keep in mind the distance students may have to travel to get to and from school.
All parents and concerned citizens are encouraged to attend to give their input. The hearing will be conducted in small groups so that all participants will have an opportunity to make comments and suggestions.
Information gathered from the hearing will be shared with members of the Fayette County Board of Education and the redistricting committee. It will also be posted to the Fayette County Board of Education website in an effort to keep the public informed as the process moves forward.