AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- Hundreds of elementary school students in Richmond County may be headed to a new school next year. The school board is considering closing Terrace Manor Elementary and Willis Foreman Elementary and moving those students to other schools in the district.
This is part of a restructuring plan called rightsizing that was proposed at Tuesday’s school board meeting.
The board is considering this rightsizing plan to optimize its resources. They say enrollment is down and continuing to drop.
Student enrollment is only at 50 percent capacity in each of the two elementary schools. The proposal would merge all of Terrace Manor’s students into Wheeless Road Elementary and Willis Foreman students would be split up across several nearby schools.
Some are concerned about what will happen to faculty and staff if the plan is approved.
“What about the teachers? How are the teachers feeling about this? Are those teachers going to move to the new facilities? What is going to happen to those teachers? Are you going to uproot them from what they’ve known? Because sometimes at elementary schools there are teachers that have been teaching there for 30 something odd years,” said Alexander Marshall, a Richmond County resident.
Another reason rightsizing is being considered is saving money. If the school board votes to go forward with the plan it is looking at saving more than $1.7 million each year.
Many also have concerns about how this could affect transportation, in a district already short on bus drivers.
“It’s going to be overcrowding of the buses. There’s going to be overcrowding of the classrooms to an extent, because– it’s just going to be ridiculous. Because now those bus drivers are going to have to drive further, those bus rides are going to have to be longer, now cutting into their time they could be spending with their family,” Marshall said.
The board wants to hear from parents about the plan. They will be hosting 4 public hearings on the matter.
- Monday, February 27, 4 p.m. at 864 Broad Street
- Thursday, March 2, 6 p.m. Wheeless Road Elementary School
- Wednesday, March 8, 6 p.m. Willis Foreman Elementary School
- Tuesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. at 864 Broad Street
Photojournalist: Will Baker.