WTXL EXCLUSIVE: Gadsden County School Officials Address School Reconfiguration Plans

Posted at 1:09 PM, Jan 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-25 11:46:05-05

GADSDEN COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - School officials in Gadsden County have responded to community concerns about plans to reconfigure schools.

Parents, teachers and other concerned citizens addressed the board last night about the news of the district's plans to consolidate.

A passionate school board meeting took place Tuesday night in Gadsden County. A packed room, meeting for more than an hour and a half, and the most talked about issue wasn't even on the agenda.

Emmanuel Sapp, a Quincy resident said, "You know it. It's time for it to happen, and it's not a big issue."

But that issue brought dozens to the meeting, several sticking up for their local schools.

"Pretty much like the rock of the little city Gretna I stay in," said Barbara Brown, a Gretna resident. "I know it's not much to some, but it means a lot to me."

"We don't have a high school there anymore, but we love our Chattahoochee Elementary School -- and we would hate to see anything happen there," said Pamela Medley from Chattahoochee.

Frances Brown, also a Chattahoochee resident said, "I don't have 'a' high school student. I have 250 high school students, because those are my heart."

Superintendent Roger Milton says the plans are just proposals, nothing set in stone.

"We're just trying to bring as many people together, sit around the table and be able to make what decisions would be in the best interests of our boys and girls," said Milton.

But those decisions were debated by community members and among the board. In fact, there are two different proposals.

"When you talk about putting them all together, this is a long process," said Charlie Frost, Sr., a school board member."If you want to throw them together -- I don't think so."

"Some form of combining programs and schools should take place," said Milton. "It's just a matter of what."

While some worried about students traveling further to get to school, one board member said several are already doing that, by studying in Leon County.

Tyrone Smith, another school board member said, "So, do we take care of home and do the very best we can -- or do we bicker among ourselves, saying, 'I don't want it to close?'"

After much consideration from the board, they have decided to meet Thursday, February 2nd at 5 p.m. to talk more about reconfiguration.

The chairman of the school board has proposed an alternate reconfiguration plan. In part, it calls for closing five schools, building a new elementary school and preserving Carter-Parramore Academy.