Concerns from final rightsizing meeting

Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The school board says it wants to consolidate the schools with lower enrollment.

The plan is to build a new wing in the back of Garrett Elementary and bring over the students from National Hills, and it has some people worried about class size.

One after another, concerned community members come forward with questions and concerns.

"I'm worried about class sizes," Donna Anderson said.

"What will be the student teacher ratio because we know the classroom size is probably going to double," said another parent.

Dr. Frank Robertson responded, "We'll come together with the superintendent in this particular area to ensure that the class size will be legitimate and practical for learning to take place."

If National Hills and Garrett Elementary combine the enrollment will nearly double to about 500. Which school officials say is just about right for an elementary school.

"So if we bring 30, 40 kids in there, oh my gosh, really?" Anderson said.

Donna Anderson has a son in kindergarten at National Hills. She says she doesn't mind the schools combining but just wants smaller classes.

"To me large classroom sizes are a recipe for disaster," Anderson said.

There is a limit of 25 kids per classroom. If it gets over that, they have to notify a board member. Then the school is supposed to bring in another teacher or make another class, but principal Doug Frierson isn't worried.

"We all want smaller classes and that would obviously be a parental concern and if it did come to bigger classes National Hills has an excellent staff. we have an excellent staff and it would be handled well," Frierson said.

Judging by tonight's turnout, with a room filled with concerned parents, teachers, and board members, this is a big change.

As of now, the board says National Hills would close its doors May of 2015, and the combined school would be up and running by August 2015.

They say they are taking each comment and concern very seriously, and the board is planning to vote on the final plan on March 11.


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