Richmond County Board of Education discusses rightsizing plans

News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Augusta, Ga (WRDW) -- "I don't want to be negative, and said won't work," said Monique Braswell as she read comments from her Facebook page.

She's now responding to comments about rightsizing in Richmond County Schools. So why did the school board decide to consolidate?

"Because of the declining enrollments in both schools," said Dr. Frank Roberson, Superintendent of Richmond County Schools.

Four schools will now be consolidated into two.

Murphy Middle combining with Josey High and Sego Middle combining with Butler High.

Braswells' children will be right in the middle of it all, so she wants all the answers before that first day.

"The community is in a uproar about any co-mingling," she said.

In the proposed plan, 6th through 8th grade would be in one building and 9th through 12th in another. But they will be on the same campus.

The superintendents reasoning for two separate buildings on one campus?

"Management, safety issues and productive schooling," he said.

But Braswell is concerned that two buildings won't keep older students separated.

"Obviously the kids will be riding the bus together, they have promised there will be monitors on those buses," she said.

As for security, we found out the new schools will have two resource officers each. Right now, each school has one officer.

Superintendent Roberson says when the schools consolidate, each building will have one officer.

But with more than 500 students on these new campuses, parents like Monique are worried that may not be enough.

"Do I think it's a possibility that a child may or may not slip onto either campus, it happens all the time," she said.

But like many other parents, Braswell will be making sure things are kept on tight watch.

"The first year that my children step foot into this merge, I'm going to be there every day," said Braswell.

The rightsizing decision is final but school leaders want to hear from the community about the next step.

On March 26 and 27, public forums will give folks an opportunity to voice their opinions about the plan.

School leaders say these forums will hopefully answer questions like school bus routes and how much interaction middle and high schooler's will have, even down to new school names and what happens with sports teams.

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RICHMOND COUNTY (WRDW)-The Richmond County Board of Education called a board meeting for 3:00 p.m. Tuesday to discuss Rightsizing plans.

The Board voted to approve closing Collins Elementary and consolidating National Hill Elementary and Garrett Elementary in 2015.

Board members also said yes to consolidating Butler High School and Sego Middle School in 2019. They also voted to consolidate Josey High School and Murphy Middle School.

The campus will be sixth grade through 12th grade starting in 2017. Eighth graders will move to the new campus in 2015. In both consolidations, middle school students will be in a different building but on the same campus.

School leaders said this is just a business meeting though, and the decisions aren't final until after two more public hearings. Those hearings will be March 26 and March 27.


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