The Strategic Plan addresses student needs while attempting to develop a system that is more efficient. Currently, we have some elementary classes in the District with more than 30 students. What we are recommending is a uniform approach in which we would cap the elementary classes at 25 students and the secondary classes at 30 students.
In March 2009, the Board of Education approved phasing out 10 schools. Closing schools could create efficiencies without overcrowding classrooms.
The way the District’s schools are currently configured, there are more than 3,000 unused student seats. This means many schools in the District are actually operating under capacity. Schools operating under capacity create inefficiencies in energy management, staffing, and transportation. By closing schools that are phased out and maximizing the use of the remaining buildings, we can better allocate our resources toward key instructional provisions.
While the proposed Strategic Plan calls for a provision to close up to 12 schools, the current five-year Bibb County Local Facilities Plan already called for phasing out 10 elementary schools and building five new schools. This Local Facilities Plan was approved by the Board of Education on March 19, 2009, to be sent to the Georgia Department of Education’s Facilities Division. (View the approval of item FSS-4 here.) Based on this Local Facilities Plan, the state approved the phasing out of 10 schools in the District. These schools included Barden, Bernd, Bruce, Burke, Heard, Jones, Morgan, Porter, Rice, and Riley Elementary Schools. Two of these schools – Bruce and Burke – have been repurposed through renovations or new construction. The remaining eight schools to be phased out no longer qualify for state funding when it comes to repairs. Even without the Strategic Plan, we would still have to phase out schools. (View the Facilities Plan here.)
The Strategic Plan includes a timeline of five to seven years to properly realign enrollment with the District’s facilities.