F’ville Council to weigh in on schools

It may be the responsibility of the Fayette County Board of Education to decide later this year on the two options for school closures, but the Fayetteville City Council on Thursday will consider a resolution that embraces school Superintendent Jeff Bearden’s preferred option that would close three schools in Fayetteville. The resolution supports closing the schools and repurposing them for other uses.

The resolution cites the school system’s need to get a handle on shrinking revenues, part of which involves one option that would close Fayette Middle School, Fayetteville Intermediate School and Hood Avenue Primary or the other option that would close Fayette Middle, Brooks Elementary and Tyrone Elementary.

The resolution mentions only the option proposed by Bearden at a recent school board meeting.

The resolution notes the current exploration centered on repurposing the three Fayetteville schools for uses such as a college and career academy.

Noted in the resolution is the council’s concern that any closed school facilities not be left permanently vacant.

The resolution came after a meeting between Mayor Greg Clifton, Councilman Larry Dell, City Manager Joe Morton, Fayette County Board of Education Chairman Leonard Presberg, Superintendent Jeff Bearden and Fayetteville Community Development Director Brian Wismer.

Despite the position of the Fayetteville City Council, the school system redistricting committee that includes parents, school system employees and community members is continuing its work on the two closure options.

Their final recommendation will come later this year and is expected to be up for a vote before the school board in December.

Dell, Morton and Wismer are currently serving on the school system’s repurposing committee that also includes Peachtree City Councilwoman Kim Learnard, a parent representative from Fayetteville, Brooks and Tyrone and several school system employees. The committee is looking at repurposing options for all the schools listed in the two closure options.

In terms of repurposing, committee chair Chris Horton told the school board Monday night that Lafayette Education Center could best be utilized as the site of the proposed career academy.

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