AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - The Richmond County School board held a public hearing to share their school rightsizing and rezoning plans with the public. Parents voiced concerns about possibilities of keeping their children in their current school like a grandfathering system, transportation routes, and separating age groups on buses.
During tonight's meeting, Dr. Pringle discussed proposed Neighborhood Planning Units changes for several elementary, middle and high schools.
For the most part, parents were understanding of the changes the board proposed due to overcrowding. "I don't mind the switch with the Jimmie Dyess school because my kids are coming out of Sue Reynolds and Langford Middle and ARC which are all overcrowded," says father of 4, Charles Perry.
But one of Perry's main concerns was would elementary and middle school students be placed on the same bus. "You can't put middle school and elementary on the same level of transportation because you have bullying. These kids are hitting puberty. There's going to be a lot of peer pressure and a lot of temptations for these younger kids. And that's not going to work because these kids are going to get treated unfair," says Perry.
But the Board of Education is reassuring parents that bullying and negative influence from older students will not be an issue. "We have two other K-8 schools that that has been successful. Anytime there has been any issues, we make sure a teacher rides the bus as a bus monitor to kind of take care of that immediately. The safety of our students is of the utmost importance," says Kaden Jacobs, Director of Communications.
The board also reassured parents that they will do all they can to keep transportation times between 30-40 minutes so that students can make it to school in a timely manner. Jacobs says that they are asking that parents be patient during this process and trust that these right-sizing changes are for the best. "This will allow a lot of extra educational opportunities for our students. It cleans up feeder patterns. So, kids that go to elementary schools together will be able to go and matriculate through middle school and high schools together. I really do think it will help build stronger communities and enhance some of those educational opportunities," says Jacobs.
Rezoning maps will also be posted on their website this week for the community to view. The school board will vote on March 23 and their decision will be effective for the 2018-2019 school year. If parents have any questions about zoning, they can voice their concerns on the Richmond County School's Let's Talk system on their website.