Petition says Collins Elementary should stay, Superintendent should go

News 12 at 11 / Wednesday, March 19, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Tonight some are saying one rightsizing plan is all wrong.

There's a petition making the rounds to keep Collins Elementary open, but that's not all they're asking for.

Many people feel what they said at the public hearings fell on deaf ears.

Rudolph Brown spoke up at the Collins rightsizing meeting last month.

When News 12 asked if he felt like he was heard, he replied, "No! No, no. It was one of the biggest wastes of my time I ever went to."

After parents, teachers and students poured their hearts out at last month's public meeting, promising to be heard, this was the last thing they expected to hear.

"Ursula Collins Elementary School will be closed," announced Dr. Frank Roberson as he read the final recommendations.

"A major slap in the face," described Brown.

While the fate of some schools is coming to an end, this fight is just getting started.

"We're signing a petition, and we're gonna take that petition up to hopefully the state," Brown said.

After saying all they could at the meeting, now the Collins community is taking to writing.

"We already got a full list, and then we also have other lists that have been taken into the community," said Brown.

With the signatures comes a powerful request. They're not just asking for Collins to remain open. They're calling for the Superintendent's job, those of his cabinet, and the jobs of board members Eloise Curtis and Marion Barnes.

"Why did our elected officials turn their back on us?" asked Brown. "They're just saying forget y'all, we're done. It's what we want to do, and that's not good."

School board members say they did listen and even looked at moving some Murphey Middle School students into Collins, but in the end, it just didn't make sense. There would still only be 120 students in the school, not enough to keep it open.

With two meetings left until the final decision, Brown says he'll keep fighting, signature by signature.

"They're trying to keep the people satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until Collins stays open," he said.

Those last two meetings will be next Wednesday, March 26 at noon and Thursday, March 27 at 2pm. Both will be in the board room at the BOE building on Broad Street.

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