Fayette BoE to set goals for school closures, redistricting at Aug. 6 called meeting

Fayette COunty School Superintendent Jeff Bearden. File photo.

Most people who keep up with the happenings of the Fayette County School System know that the closure of up to five schools is currently under at least theoretical consideration. But there are a number of parameters that will be determined before the Fayette County Board of Education tackles the issue.

To that end, a called meeting will be held on Aug. 6 to discuss those parameters and give direction to the committee that will be charged with doing the research that will help the board reach a decision on the closure issue.

Superintendent Jeff Bearden at the school board’s July 16 meeting recommended the Aug. 6 workshop that should include include several areas for consideration.

One of those would have board members determining if the committee should focus on only how redistricting would affect the schools slated for potential closure or if the committee should approach redistricting from a systemwide perspective.

Another recommended topic for the August meeting concerns the direction the committee should take on issues such as the length of time children should spend on buses, school capacities, maintaining neighborhood integrity and feeder patterns from elementary schools to high schools.

Bearden also asked that the committee be given a list of goals.

The redistricting committee is expected to include individuals having expressed an interest in the topic. Membership of the committee may not be finalized until after the Aug. 6 meeting.

Bearden in April had proposed to close Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and open the new but nearly empty Rivers Elementary as a way to help offset the school system that is facing significant decreasing revenues from plummeting local tax revenues and falling student enrollment that generates approximately $4,000 per student from state sources.

Each of the schools initially proposed for closure are located in Fayetteville, and each has a majority of black students.

The discussion among board members at the May 2 workshop ended with Bearden being asked to develop four optional closure plans for consideration. Those include:

1) Bearden’s original proposal for closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers;

2) Bearden’s proposal and closing Tyrone Elementary;

3) Bearden’s proposal and closing Brooks Elementary; or

4) Bearden’s proposal and closing both Tyrone and Brooks. Both Tyrone and Brooks are majority white schools.

A meeting to discuss the board’s preference on the optional plans was expected to come at a workshop in July or August. The school board at that time was expected to make a decision that would provide the school boundary redistricting committee with the information needed to begin its work.

Bearden said public hearings will also be held to solicit public input. The entire process is expected to be completed in December in time for the implementation that will take effect in the 2013-2014 school year.

It is noteworthy that the three schools originally proposed for closure by Bearden are all located in Fayetteville and all are Title 1 schools. Title I, Part A (Title I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended (ESEA) provides financial assistance to local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards, according to the U.S. Dept. of Education.

The city was also the home of the former East Fayette Elementary School, closed in 2008 when Inman Elementary School opened several miles south of the city. The opening of Inman requires students to be bused more than four miles out of town to their new school.

Deltagurl818
Deltagurl818's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/29/2008
The numbers for 2012 - 2013

Wonder how many will be missing this year from the student population? Yes we are not building more homes as Bearden indicated in May, but folks are leaving (but still reside in the county). Where are they going?? I bet the central office knows. Folks are tired of the shenanigans. FC will certainly lack 2 students this year with mine and I am not moving.

Deltagurl818
Deltagurl818's picture
Offline
Joined: 09/29/2008
The numbers for 2012 - 2013

Wonder how many will be missing this year from the student population? Yes we are not building more homes as Bearden indicated in May, but folks are leaving (but still reside in the county). Where are they going?? I bet the central office knows. Folks are tired of the shenanigans. FC will certainly lack 2 students this year with mine and I am not moving.

I Heart Fayette
I Heart Fayette's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/28/2012
Dr. Bearden's proposal means

Dr. Bearden's proposal means that students currently attending FIS, Hood, and FMS would move to newer facilities a short distance from their current schools, which are among the oldest buildings in the county. I'm disappointed that The Citizen chooses to raise suspicion by mentioning which schools are majority white or Title I.

Davids mom
Davids mom's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/30/2005
The Challenge of Supt. Bearden and the BOE

It will take the intelligence and integrity of all involved to come up with a plan that will benefit all students in Fayette County.

Quote:

It isn't going to be a quick fix, we have so many things to right before this ship quits taking on water. But I feel confidante that these two will get us on the right road.

Quote:

The discussion among board members at the May 2 workshop ended with Bearden being asked to develop four optional closure plans for consideration. Those include:
1) Bearden’s original proposal for closing Fayette Middle, Hood Avenue Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and opening Rivers;
2) Bearden’s proposal and closing Tyrone Elementary;
3) Bearden’s proposal and closing Brooks Elementary; or
4) Bearden’s proposal and closing both Tyrone and Brooks. Both Tyrone and Brooks are majority white schools.

Although the 'race' of the students in the above is mentioned, this should not be a major factor in decision making on school closure and redistribution of students. Wise use of funds; exposure /funding of outstanding academic programs for all students; and other considerations play a big part in school closure.

Quote:

Another recommended topic for the August meeting concerns the direction the committee should take on issues such as the length of time children should spend on buses, school capacities, maintaining neighborhood integrity and feeder patterns from elementary schools to high schools.

Let's hope that politics and 'egos' are left at the door - and the committee and all involved in this endeavor do the best they can with the funds they have for the benefit of all students in Fayette County.

americanpatriots
americanpatriots's picture
Offline
Joined: 04/05/2010
BoE is on financial & operational life support

Well folks, it looks as if the cabal of Smith and Smola is finally coming to its rightful end. And, there is no doubt whatsoever that Smith will be defeated in a landslide later this year.

Bearden had better come up with a sensible Plan B or he will face the unemployment line, as I believe he should, in the coming new year.

And last but not least, Presberg will be forced to surrender his post as leader of the “joined-at-the-hips” crowd of Smith, Smola, Presberg and Bearden.

The good citizens of Fayette County have spoken and hopefully we can now set about the business of rescuing the sinking ship known as the “Fayette County Board of Education.”

Jim Richter

suggarfoot
suggarfoot's picture
Offline
Joined: 10/10/2007
rescuing the sinking ship “Fayette County Board of Education"

I feel so good that we have 2 new members on the BOE with such good backgrounds. (The later election results between Smith, Democrat, and Mary Kay is a given.)

Dr Marchman is ethical and took the high road. He never stooped to pandering to any group. I wish everyone knew the Marchman's. They restore your faith in humanity.

It isn't going to be a quick fix, we have so many things to right before this ship quits taking on water. But I feel confidante that these two will get us on the right road.

Recent Comments