Richmond County education leaders vote to close 2 schools

The Richmond County Board of Education decided to shut down Terrace Manor Elementary and Willis Foreman Elementary.
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:43 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Richmond County Board of Education decided to shut down Terrace Manor Elementary and Willis Foreman Elementary.

Those two schools will merge into Wheeless Road Elementary, Deer Chase, and Hephzibah Elementary. A lot of parents are concerned about class size.

“I believe that what they’re doing with the rezoning or resizing would be great as long as we can stick to that 15 to 20 kids per classroom, that would actually be better beneficial for everybody,” said Alicia Harris.

Only a handful of parents showed up for this announcement. A lot of parents told us, before Tuesday night, they felt the school district made up its mind before they got community feedback.


Board members say it was not an easy decision.

Board of Education President Charlie Walker said: “We had a lot of community involvement. Hearing the parents and the teachers and even the community folks themselves, who live in the neighborhoods that are going to be impacted was tough. It was tough to listen to. But sometimes you have to make tough choices in order for the future to look a little bit brighter.”

It was a seven-to-two vote for Willis Foreman and an eight-to-one vote for Terrace Manor. Some unhappy parents left the meeting after the vote, and others in the community say they hope the board’s decision leads to more resources for the students at these merged schools.

Christopher Mulliens is a community member. He said, “Let’s look at the resources that we’re not giving to our children right now. What’s not going on. Once we resize and be able to consolidate some things, I think we’ll be able to focus our resources where they should be, especially when it comes to mental, emotional, and physical well-being and health.”

But some parents don’t expect this to be an easy transition for their family.

One says, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with my youngest son, now. The school was close to me, and I’d pick them up and go right to work.”

Walker encourages parents to give this new normal a chance.

“I say give your new school a chance, okay? We’ve got some really good schools. You’ll have opportunities for your children that you might not have had at some of the schools that you’ve been used to sending them to,” he said.

This merger will happen for the 2023-2024 school year. The board says they do a review about every three years to see if rightsizing will be necessary, but that doesn’t always trigger action as it did this time around.