Parents upset about midday meeting times to discuss right sizing

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March 26, 2014/ News 12 First at Five

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)-- In 3 weeks, the Richmond County school board will make its final decision on which schools to close and which ones to merge.

Hundreds have voiced their concern over the plan to close Collins Elementary and merge 6 other schools. Monday and Tuesday, parents, retired teachers, and anyone with concerns have one last chance to try to sway board members and have their voices heard.

Monday's meeting was a long way from a packed house, though. Many complained the meeting times, starting at noon, were designed to keep the meeting size small and working parents away.

Tyrone Butler, a former student at Collins Elementary, said, "I know a lot of voices were not heard because they could not be here."

Butler was one of the few people who made it to the meeting to share his opinions, but despite his heartfelt remarks, he believes the board will take the consulting firms' advice to close Collins Elementary, merge National Hills and Garret Elementary, combine Butler High and Sego Middle, and merge Josey High with Murphy Middle. It's a decision Butler says should be made by community members rather than outside consultants.

"They came in they did a job and they left. But our board members are the ones that should feel what we're saying because they live here," he said.

But, unless someone presents a revolutionary idea the board hasn't considered, the plan will not change.

"We pretty much see going forward with the recommendation to the board with the existing scenarios," Dr. Frank Roberson, Superintendent of Richmond County Schools, said.

But, barring a miracle, that will not happen, and Collins Elementary will likely close this June.

There is one last meeting Tuesday. They will be discussing Collins at 12 p.m., National Hill at 1:30 p.m., Murphey Middle School and Josey High School at 3 p.m. and Sego Middle School and Butler High School at 4:30 p.m.

The board will make its final vote during their meeting on April 17.

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