Richmond County considering closing schools as last resort to save money

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - By this time next year the Richmond County school district will have lost over $200 million in state funding, according to school board member Jack Padgett Jr.

As a last ditch effort to save money, Padgett says the board is considering shutting down a few schools.

"Since Collins is a really great school I don't feel like moving again. I don't want to leave my school," said Courtney Simmons, a fifth grade student at Collins Elementary School.

The board named Collins Elementary as a school they may shut down because its enrollment is down.

Simons says she's moved schools so many times she's lost count of them. But she says of all the schools she's been in, Collins is the best because of its learning environment.

"You actually get to learn lots of new things, you get to do projects and your teachers are really nice and they help you out with anything," Simmons, said.

Padgett doesn't want to see Collins close either but he says it's a painful situation that can't be avoided.

"Every time the school board is hurt, the children hurt," said Padgett.

He says the board would save about $1 million a year by closing down 1 school. He says it would also allow them to cut back furlough days for their staff.

Padgett says they may close 2 or 3 elementary schools where less than 85% of students are enrolled.

He said they would also redistrict, "We would just change the boundary lines and combine them and we'd move them as close to the adjoining schools as possible."

Padgett says during the next few weeks they will decide if district staff or consultants will choose which schools may be closed.

He says we should know by January what will happen.