AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - Some controversy is stirring after a group of consultants recommended the Richmond County school board merge some middle and high schools. Some parents aren't too fond of the idea.
"Just to think of a 12-year-old with 17-, 18-, sometimes 20-year-olds, depending on when they get out of school. No. That frightens me," Flora Cooper said.
"7th graders shouldn't be with 10th and 12th graders, and 18- and 17-year-olds," Tahija Jones said. "I don't think that's okay."
The plan proposes merging Murphey Middle with T. W. Josey High, Sego Middle with Butler High, and National Hills Elementary with Garrett Elementary. The plan also recommends closing Collins Elementary.
"The main focus on right-sizing is to get the most academic offerings to as many Richmond County students as possible," said Benton Starks, senior director of facilities services.
Officials said consolidating schools will maximize the academic programs.
"If you were going to teach a foreign language, that is very difficult and very costly with a school of 200 kids. But with a school of 600 kids, that is more feasible."
Parents aren't buying it.
"There's a reason why we have low attendance in these schools and it's up to the board of education to figure it out. They know why. They know exactly why. Fix the problem."
Monique Braswell collected signatures all day on Wednesday for a petition against the proposal. She doesn't think consolidation is the answer for low attendance.
"Find another way to do it. But putting the middle school inside of the high schools or putting the middle schools on the campus with the high schools is definitely a wrong reason."
Richmond County school officials will hear hold public hearings in February before final decisions are made. If you are a parent and you want to get involved, there will be a parent forum at 6 p.m. Friday at the Murphey Middle School cafeteria.