QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) - Gadsden County Schools will start a new chapter next year after the board voted to consolidate Tuesday night.
The moves impact several schools in the district, and Superintendent Roger Milton says his administration will make sure the process goes smoothly.
"It is our time, Gadsden. It's our time," Milton said in a press conference Wednesday. "We are moving from good to great."
It's been more than a decade since East Gadsden High School and West Gadsden High School were formed -- when the county's four public high schools merged to two. Now, both will combine next year but the details are few.
"Right now, it's one Gadsden," Milton said. "However, that's just tentative. We will have input from the students from East and West Gadsden."
Here's what else goes into effect:
1) Gretna Elementary and St. John Elementary will close.
2) West Gadsden and Shanks Middle School will serve grades 4-8.
3) George Munroe Elementary and Greensboro Elementary will serve grades PreK-3.
"The quality of education, safety -- all of these things are paramount and important, especially to me as a county commissioner," said county commission chair Sherrie Taylor. "So, we've just bridged what I humbly believe is an avenue to get us there quicker."
Milton says the district will work on new bus routes and will keep employees from the closing schools.
"We will, through openings and positions at other schools, transfer those employees to those other schools," Milton explained.
While the vote was cheered by many, others were disappointed. A Facebook group that opposed the plan sent WTXL the following statement:
"We feel betrayed by those that we trust with our children. After making us feel as though our opinions mattered, in the end, nothing we as parents and students think or feel were taken into consideration."
Milton said several committees are already working on the transition process, which includes the vision for the combined high school.
He said the entire process will be transparent, counting on the community to make the plans work.
The superintendent said a new name for the high school will most likely be decided in the summer, in addition to a new mascot and school colors.