News 12 at 11 o'clock/ Monday, October 7th, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The Richmond County Board of Education is looking at the possibility of closing down three schools next year.
It's called "Rightsizing" and basically means making sure each class in each school isn't too big, but isn't too small.
The board made a goal a few years ago to keep every school around 85% full, but they say some have fallen well below that number and closing them could save a lot of money.
"We're gonna take a hard look at the demographics in the different schools and just see if there are some schools out there that we probably need to close," said board member Jimmy Atkins.
They say each school they close would save the Board of Education more than a million dollars per year.
"If we could close say it's three elementary schools that's about three or four furlough days that I think we could give back to our staff and that's three or four more instruction days we can give our students," explained Atkins.
They've hired consultants to do research and give recommendations on potential closings.
"They'll hit the ground running this month so hopefully by the first of the year they will have recommendations to us," said Atkins.
One of the potential schools on the list is Collins Elementary.
Each day dozens of parents from Cherry Tree Crossing take their children down the street to Collins Elementary, but in just a few weeks that will all change.
"I will have to withdraw them from that school to go to another school," said parent Starice Grinage.
Almost every child in Cherry Tree will be rezoned which Grinage says will leave a lot of empty seats at Collins.
"There may be some other kids from different areas, other neighborhoods, but majority of the kids are from here," said Grinage.
They don't have any other particular schools in mind. They say if Collins were to be on the list, it would be left as is with the potential of opening up again in a few years.
Although the board knows it will be difficult on some, they say have to do what's best for the school system.
"As a board member my goal would be if you're in a school that's gonna be closed, you'll know that before you go home at the end of this school year," said Atkins.
This was approved during the board retreat. Three is the number that is being thrown around, but they say that'll be decided by consultants. It could be more, but it could be less.
They will hold public hearings about any potential closings in the spring.