Gilbert Manor residents surveyed on school preference

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, January 28, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga.---The survey results are in, and News 12 has a copy. What will they mean for the future of students living at Gilbert Manor? Ether Dantignac remembers her grandson learning his first steps, and now he shuffles to class at Lamar Elementary. But that will change. The family is one of many at Gilbert Manor who is now stacking boxes.

They're forced to move as the neighboring Medical College of Georgia expands. It means a new school for Ether's little one's. "They health is my concern because they can't do no more than you help them to do, and living in this violence ain't no good for them," said Ether.

It was standing room only as some spoke out about moving children mid-school year. The Augusta Housing Authority asked the school-board to make exceptions for those families. But the board said not so fast...survey the families first.

Ether's says if moving means a new be it. "I have to take children out the bed and put them on the floor and that's no way for little kids to be living like that. Really, I am ready to move."

25 families have moved so far. Another 15 families will move this week.The housing authority says surveying the families was quite a challenge. "Some of them we just simply couldn't reach." said Harden Oldfield with housing authority.

93 out of a total 142 kids were surveyed. 69% of them wanted to stay in their school. 61% of them would need transportation to get there. "Whether these are true numbers I don't know. You can go to somebody and ask do they want a new Mercedes and they're gonna say yes, but when it gets down to getting that Mercedes are they willing to fork over the money for that or not I don't know," said Mr. Oldfield.

But that is another debate says family member Precious Dantignac. However, there's one thing she's certain of. "It's a better move on their behalf and for the safety of my kids, but I don't want to move. I want to stay right here in Gilbert Manor."

The 90 day time-line runs out April 1st. The last day of school is May 23rd. Richmond County school superintendent Dr. Dana Bedden says he will now take time review the results.

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