Gadsden County Schools to Consolidate in 2017-18

Gadsden County School District to Consolidate in 2018
Posted at 11:00 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 08:29:48-04

QUINCY, Fla. (WTXL) -- After months of discussion, a decision has been made.

The Gadsden County School District will consolidate, starting next school year.

The board voted Tuesday night to approve all of the superintendent's motions, laid out in his proposal that was released Friday.

With the district's future on the line, residents made sure they were seen and heard.

"They want to see better for their children," said Ronte Harris, president of the Gadsden County Classroom Teachers' Association. "They want to see Gadsden County Schools prosper, and I think tonight was a step in the right direction."

The crowd was so large that an overflow room was needed, watching as the board voted 3-2 on each part of the plan.

"I'm somewhat disappointed, but when the board makes a decision, majority rules," said board chairman Isaac Simmons. "So, it's my job now as chairman to work with the superintendent to make sure we implement this plan."

Tensions ran high at times, prompting Simmons several times to quiet the crowd. There were passionate opinions on both sides of the issue.

"You're going to please some but not others," said one Gadsden County resident who's opposed to reconfiguration. "Of course, you can't do that, but this is a hasty plan. It's a work in progress."

"I know we feel a certain way about certain schools, but, at the end of the day, it's about the kids," said Gretna resident Dwayne Corker, "and, if you love your kids, you want to provide them the best education possible."

The board approved the start of applying for funds to build a new school to replace Stewart Street Elementary and Gadsden Elementary Magnet School. East and West Gadsden High schools will merge next year, and Gretna Elementary and St. John Elementary will close.

"I said it earlier, I thought we were moving too fast, too quick. But now the votes prevail," said Simmons. "So, we're going to have to work together to make this plan work."