Add Inman to school cut list

Fayette County Board of Education members Janet Smola (L) and Bob Todd. File photo.

Fayette BoE sets up criteria for group to redraw districts

There will be a community redistricting committee to address the potential closure of several Fayette County schools beginning in the 2013-2014 school year.

But the consensus at the Monday meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education that led to the particulars of the redistricting committee’s assignment saw the addition of one more option, a lengthy back-and-forth discussion and accusations by Chairman Leonard Presberg that “some on the board” were trying to undermine the redistricting efforts.

Board member Bob Todd near the beginning of the discussion on the redistricting committee’s goals and parameters said the four options previously discussed did not include consideration of an option he had suggested in the spring, one that included the potential closure of Inman Elementary School south of Fayetteville.

The four options agreed on by consensus included closures originally suggested by Superintendent Jeff Bearden and three other options identified in the spring. Those include:

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

2. Bearden’s proposal plus closing Tyrone Elementary;

3. Bearden’s proposal plus closing Brooks Elementary; or

4. Bearden’s proposal plus closing both Tyrone and Brooks.

Todd’s suggestion Monday night included a fifth option that would look at closing Inman and Tyrone, closing Fayette Middle, consolidating Hood Primary and Fayetteville Intermediate and leaving Rivers as it is now, with only a portion of the special eduction students populating the school.

During the initial discussion that resulted in the fifth option involving Inman and other components board member Terri Smith suggested that “for the sake of argument” the board could create a fifth option.

The discussion had Smith and Janet Smola opposing the fifth option and Key and Todd in favor. Though no vote was taken, Presberg said that to move the work of the redistricting committee forward he would agree to include the fifth option, adding that doing so was not fair to the committee.

The discussion on the proposal for a fifth option had already continued for some time, going back and forth between the two sides of the issue. While not mentioning their names, Presberg on several occasions suggested that “some members of the board” were working to undermine the work with which the redistricting committee is being charged.

Smola during the discussion suggested that the school closure topic be put off until January when the new board will be seated.

Bearden commented that the idea of the fifth option should have been dealt with in the spring.

“I’m surprised that we’re going back and looking at a fifth option,” Bearden said.

Not mentioned by Bearden or any on the board Monday night was the statement made by Todd during the spring when the other options were being discussed. It was at one of those meetings that Todd made the point of suggesting that the closure of Inman be considered as one of the options. Yet his request went unheeded with virtually no discussion, while the discussion on the other options were far-reaching.

Bearden prior to the inclusion of the fifth option Monday night said he would be meeting with the potential committee members on Thursday and would likely announce their names on Friday. That timeline might be affected by the decision to include the fifth option which involved Inman Elementary and the need to secure committee participation from those involved with that potential closure.

For all the discussion that preceded it, the board agreed to the five parameters for the committee to pursue. Those included:

• The redistricting committee will serve as a voluntary advisory committee and will work with the superintendent and his staff on creating four options for board consideration.

• Look at the entire system during the redistricting process and make any recommended changes that the committee believes will lead to greater efficiencies.

• Work to protect the integrity of neighborhoods/subdivisions.

• Use the “Cluster” model in attempt to develop logical feeder patterns.

• Keep in mind the distance students may have to travel to get to and from school.

As for the school redistricting process, it is expected to include a total of four public hearings. Though the situation might change with the inclusion of the fifth option, the first hearing is currently set to be held at Fayette County High School on Aug. 30.

The meeting will begin with Bearden providing an overview of the purpose of the school closures and redistricting process. Bearden will also give a report on school system finances and the school enrollment history.

The hearing will be structured so that citizens will sit at tables with committee members or school system staff, who will document suggestions and input and answer questions. The subsequent input gathered will be posted on the school system’s website and will be provided at the second public hearing.

Further into the redistricting process and once the maps are finalized, two additional public hearings will be conducted prior to the vote by the board, expected to occur in December. Bearden did note that the new board in January can make changes to the boundaries if they choose to do so.

americanpatriots
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Bearden's quarrel with two BoE Members

School Superintendent, Jeff Bearden’s hostile and open public debate in today’s Citizen (8/15/12) with two members of the Board of Education reminds me of a spoiled child that doesn’t get his way.

His open public criticism of Dr. Todd and Marion Key is shocking and will certainly make it almost impossible for him to continue as school superintendent when his majority support ends in January.

Why even appoint a committee to come up with recommendations regarding school closings? Bearden has already clearly rejected anyone else’s ideas so why waste valuable time on a committee that he won’t listen to anyway?

Why would anyone want to sit on a committee that will be totally ignored?

Jim Richter

AtHomeGym
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Richter, Bearden, & BOE

Why not argue his points of logic for his opinion instead of his choosing to inform the public?

I Heart Fayette
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I found myself looking for

I found myself looking for the "like" button, David's Mom. It's obvious that some people have personal grudges that prevent them from seeing this situation objectively.

wanttoknow
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Add Inman to the list. . . How stupid

The Inman school is a new school with great teachers and all the upgrades necessary to give the best education to kids of Fayette Co. Hood Avenue, Fayette Intermediate, Tyrone & Brooks are all good schools too but if we are going to have to close schools, close the old schools and put these kids in the facilities that will be most cost efficient due to age and equipment upgrades and provide our students with the best environment for learning, safety and growth once it returns.

Our new board in 2013 will show what they are made of when and if they have the guts to close schools, tighten the budget belt and most of all, face the heat that will come from the voting public when they have to redistrict to accomodate the closure and combination of school populations. Will they have the backbone to stand their ground and do the right thing or will they cave to the demands of those parents in specific neighborhoods who raise holy crap (and the campaign fund $'s) when they get told that their kids will have to be moved to another school? It will truly be an interesting sight to see how well they all handle the heat.

As for Suggafoot, her negative comments are always directed to anyone whose opinion differs from her own. And as for Dr. Todd and Mrs. Key, they are not always right in their opinions or on the correct side of the voter's choices either. Not everyone in this county wishes to stay in the 19th century or agrees with the opinions of Key, Todd and the all knowing Suggafoot. While not always right, I can personally vouch that when contacted about issues, both Smith and Smola were courteous enough to reply while I'm still 3 years and waiting for Dr. Todd (my representive)to answer a simple email. The reason people have moved to this county in the past was because our citizens and the past BOE members were advocates for continually upgrading our facilities to help provide the best learning environment available for our students. As for real estate moguls taking advantage of our county, many of them will tell you that one of the problems we have in our county is not having enough entry level housing for young families ($150M - $250M). With the current housing glut and depressed prices now due to the recession, we may now be able to attract young families back to this county with somewhat affordable housing. That will be one of the answers to increasing our school population, lowering out tax expense per voter and filling these schools back up. But if the FCBOE closes the wrong schools and leave the older ones open, we will effectively erase an attractive feature of our county's school system.

I Heart Fayette
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There are plenty of nice

There are plenty of nice homes in that price range that happen to be located in the some of the attendance areas perceived to be less desirable. Keeping the best facilities open, such as Inman, and moving students from older facilities into Rivers, is a much better solution. Thanks for speaking up for Smith and Smola and for your well-written insight on this situation.

Davids mom
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Visiting facilities

I hope one of the activities of the committees giving input to the Supt. and the BOE is visiting ALL of the schools being considered for closure. All Fayette students deserve the best facility available. During this time of economic uncertainty -the transition should be based on what is best for students within the budget. Times will get better! In the meantime, updating older schools is not possible at this time. As decisions are almost determined, it may be a good idea for parents to experience the change in transportation and location. . . for understanding of the reasons for change at this time.

suggarfoot
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A mockery of the citizens!

"The hearing will be structured so that citizens will sit at tables with committe members or school system staff, who will document suggestions and input and answer questions....subsequent input gathered will be posted on the system's website...etc"

Too bad Janet Smola and Terry Smith didn't do that ..before.. they built Rivers, the money pit! Too bad they didn't do that ..before.. they bought hundreds of acres of cow pastures they can't unload!! Rivers was built as a developers selling tool with taxpayers money! It is too far for any of the children to want to go there.

Too bad Lee Hearn didn't have a sit down with the citizens 1st ....BEFORE.. the West Fayette Bypass that was again built for developers to unlock those cowpastures, next to the empty schools we are now paying dearly for.(Did he have a "sit down" with his relatives who owned the cowpastures in the family trust 1st? I bet he did!)

I'm sure as Janet Smola said, she would ...love... to see the school's closing tabled till she was out of office. She doesn't want the credit for her handy work.

SMOLA AND SMITH ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE OVERBUILDING OF SCHOOLS. THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FACT WE WILL NOW HAVE TO CLOSE SOME OF THE SCHOOLS. LET THEM STAND UP AND TAKE THE CREDIT FOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!

Davids mom
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suggarfoot

It's time to move on. These two individuals that you have such dislike for weren't the only ones who thought Fayette County would not be touched by what was going on in other areas - myself included. I started investigating this area in 2002; started building a home in 2003; and have been a permanent resident since 2004. I believed that this area would grow!!! There were so many reasons for so many Americans to make this mistake - greed and looking for 'nirvana' being among those reasons. We live in the eternal NOW. We won't forget the past - for good lessons are learned from successes and failures (mistakes). This BOE appears to be moving in the right direction. Some hard decisions will have to be made. Everyone will not be happy. So - the judgement should be based on what is best for the KIDS! Let's leave politics, egos, and individual financial gain at the door when dealing with our kids.

Davids mom
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You 're giving too much credit - Suggarfoot

to the 'wisdom' of FC board members. School districts throughout the country who believed that the housing bubble would last forever are in the process of looking at better use of facilities - (school closures). What is important now is for current board members and citizens to take steps to maintain the education offered to our students. Did developers take advantage of FC? It looks like it. Should FC or any school district charge developer 'fees' ? YES! Congratulations to the Supt. and the board for this process - let's hope the result of this effort benefits all involved with our schools.

suggarfoot
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thanks DM

Before they built Rivers, the state was doing the numbers and advising the schools to pull back. There was a bit article in the AJC about it. A lot of them took note and didn't get in this mess. Ours didn't. One of the things in the AJC piece stated was the temporary work force's children would leave with their parents once the building was finished. So a much smaller enrollement was a given. It pointed out that this should be taken into any equation ..BEFORE.. any more building. It wasn't by ours.

They had the info...it was read.

The whole deal was about ...local...developers. BOE Smith's husband is one of them. And, local land owners, who are related to Lee Hearn.

We have a road to no where, the West Fayette bypass, that opened up those landlocked cowpasture. That road was insisted upon by Lee Hearn and his group. His relatives own a family land trust that did quite well in the deal.

These two deals were not people looking through rosy glasses. This whole deal, in my eyes, was well thought out for their betterment, paid for by taxpayers, and to hell with our kids.

It is disgusting, and these people should be held accountable.

suggarfoot
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thanks DM

Before they built Rivers, the state was doing the numbers and advising the schools to pull back. There was a bit article in the AJC about it. A lot of them took note and didn't get in this mess. Ours didn't. One of the things in the AJC piece stated was the temporary work force's children would leave with their parents once the building was finished. So a much smaller enrollement was a given. It pointed out that this should be taken into any equation ..BEFORE.. any more building. It wasn't by ours.

They had the info...it was read.

The whole deal was about ...local...developers. BOE Smith's husband is one of them. And, local land owners, who are related to Lee Hearn.

We have a road to no where, the West Fayette bypass, that opened up those landlocked cowpasture. That road was insisted upon by Lee Hearn and his group. His relatives own a family land trust that did quite well in the deal.

These two deals were not people looking through rosy glasses. This whole deal, in my eyes, was well thought out for their betterment, paid for by taxpayers, and to hell with our kids.

It is disgusting, and these people should be held accountable.

suggarfoot
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thanks DM

Before they built Rivers, the state was doing the numbers and advising the schools to pull back. There was a bit article in the AJC about it. A lot of them took note and didn't get in this mess. Ours didn't. One of the things in the AJC piece stated was the temporary work force's children would leave with their parents once the building was finished. So a much smaller enrollement was a given. It pointed out that this should be taken into any equation ..BEFORE.. any more building. It wasn't by ours.

They had the info...it was read.

The whole deal was about ...local...developers. BOE Smith's husband is one of them. And, local land owners, who are related to Lee Hearn.

We have a road to no where, the West Fayette bypass, that opened up those landlocked cowpasture. That road was insisted upon by Lee Hearn and his group. His relatives own a family land trust that did quite well in the deal.

These two deals were not people looking through rosy glasses. This whole deal, in my eyes, was well thought out for their betterment, paid for by taxpayers, and to hell with our kids.

It is disgusting, and these people should be held accountable.

suggarfoot
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thanks DM

.

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