School Closings In Georgia
Budget deficits have prompted counties throughout the state to propose school closings in Georgia. Parents, students and teachers opposed the closures and began protests. As a result of the outcry of the people, many closures in Georgia have been halted. Groups have been formed to investigate the closures further and to get input from the public.
- July 2010: In Ware County one of the top-rated schools in Georgia, Ware County School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Sciences Magnet School, is scheduled for closure. Magnet school supporters formed a group called Citizens United for Excellent Schools to fight the closure. The organization got the issue put on the ballot which will be voted on in the primary election. The budget could also be balanced by cutting out athletics, ROTC, district arts, and a school tax hike of twenty percent. Opponents declare the magnet school is elitist, while supporters state it is cheaper to run than other schools in the district, and it is not elitist because the students are chosen by lottery.
- March 2009: The announcement of proposed school closures in DeKalb County, which includes Atlanta, drew crowds in opposition. Parents were upset that most of the schools being considered for closure were in poor Black neighborhoods. The schools targeted for closure are Sky Haven, Gresham Park, Kelley Lake, Toney, Meadowview, Midway and Peachcrest. Supporters say the schools have low enrollments and closing them would help with the deficit. Opponents say closing the schools would mean the children would have to be bussed to get a quality education. Also, Midway is the only school in south DeKalb that has a free Montessori program for the children.
- November 2009: Dekalb County voted to stop the proposed school closures. The County decided to redraw attendance zones in the district and consult with the public during the next year before they make any decisions. The school board and the superintendent will choose a “citizens planning task force” made up of twenty members that will meet over ten months and recommend a plan that will be presented to the school board in December 2010 with an effective date of August 2011. The plan was named the 2020 Vision.
- January 2011: Dekalb County put school closings back on the table. Once again, school closures were being discussed. It was anticipated that they will once again be met with opposition from teachers, students and parents.
- October 2010: Vancouver County issued a list of five school closures. Plans to close the schools immediately met with resistance, and by December 2010 the plans were scrapped. In February 2011, the school board announced that it will do a year-long comprehensive review and once again discuss school closures.
- December 2010: Stratford, Georgia, announces that it will most likely close one or two school buildings in the coming year to help ease financial burdens of the budget and health insurance. In September 2010, a committee of 22 members was formed to study the schools. They are looking at closures, consolidation and regrouping grade levels to keep the budget at a zero percent increase.
- January 2011: Albany, Georgia, proposed to open a Career Academy, but may only be able to afford it by shutting down a high school. They are considering a Charter Career Academy, which would allow students to attend high school classes and learn technical skills at a college at the same time. The opposition is concerned with loss of tradition and emotional issues from closing Albany High School. The supporters feel that the Charter Career Academy will be beneficial to the students.