Six minute meeting offers few answers on T.W. Josey, Murphey Middle School merger

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News 12 @ 11' O Clock / Mon. Jan. 11, 2016

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- Plans to consolidate T.W. Josey High School and Murphey Middle School are finally moving forward, but parents and students tell us they feel like they are being left behind. A meeting designed to give them answers, ended just six minutes after it started.

"They was a little confused, they said oh its over already, you know five minutes, six minutes," Gloria Holt.

"The meeting tonight...I think it was a joke," said Gwen Utley.

A joke that concerned parents and others who showed up tonight did not find funny.

"A lot of people got off their jobs to come here for the meeting. A lot of them took their lunch break to come here for the meeting," said Utley.

But six minutes into the T.W. Josey, Murphey Middle School meeting, it was over.

"Right now they feel the same way they did then when they came," said Utley.

Parents were asked to fill out note cards with their concerns and questions, but none of them were answered in this meeting.

"I wanted to hear exactly from the source. and when I got here what I understood was a six minute meeting took place, where people were given no more information," said Tameka Simpkins.

Alumni, former Josey parent and community member Tamieka Simpkins left work early to hear the plans, but didn't get a chance.

"It is frustrating, but I mean what exactly did I miss in six minutes?," asked Simpkins.

Richmond County Schools spokesman Kaden Jacobs says the meeting was never intended to be that long, only to clear up misinformation and bring the community up to speed.

"We felt like some time had passed it was time to bring the community in and explain to them what the processes was and have them look at the timeline," said Jacobs.

Jacobs says the process isn't over yet and they'll take those questions back to the board.

"We will be answering those," said Jacobs. "We completely understand the concern about safety of students, that is a high priority for us as well," said Jacobs.

In the meantime, Jacobs says the committee and the district is marching ahead with merging the middle school with the high school.

"Moving forward we have construction. Committees will continue to meet about educational opportunities," said Jacobs.

People who showed up at the meeting just hope they'll get to speak up before the schools become one.

"What I am doing right now, I am trying not to jump to conclusions. I am going to try to put my faith in the board," said Simpkins.

Jacobs tells me the district plans to have several more informational meetings and public forums before the Murphey Middle School students move over to the T.W. Josey campus.