Plan calls for closing Gretna and St. John elementary schools, combining East and West high schools
The Gadsden County School Board held a retreat with newly-elected Superintendent Roger Milton at the helm on Wednesday morning, Jan. 11th at district offices. The retreat was held to explore possibilities for combining student populations and the potenial for closing a few schools and why. Two avenues of reconfiguration were brought forward: those of Isaac Simmons and Roger Milton.
Superintendent Milton's 'Proposed School Reconfigurations 2017-2021/Moving Toward Greater Efficiency in School Operations:'
1. Equity funding is essential to equalize opportunities and experiences for ALL students.
2. Why Reconfigure Schools? To...
a. Reduce overall costs of operating schools for improved efficiency
b. Discontinue use of antiquated buildings
c. Optimize the potential for great course and program offerings for students
d. Increase and improve school access to technology through redistribution of resources
e. Increase availability of funds for employee compensation
3. Current enrollments and capacities for all school sites...
a. Carter-Parramore, Capacity 1031 / Enrollment 236 - 23% use
b. Chattahoochee Elementary, Capacity 485 / Enrollment 177 - 36% use
c. Gadsden Elementary Magnet, Capacity 246 / Enrollment 155 - 63% use
d. George W. Munroe Elementary, Capactiy 885 / Enrollment 528 - 60% use
e. Greensboro Elementary, Capacity 513 / Enrollment 327 - 63% use
f. Gretna Elementary, Capacity 433 / Enrollment 278 - 64% use
g. Havana Magnet, Capacity 785 / Enrollment 606 - 77% use
h. St. John Elementary, Capacity 469 / Enrollment 220 - 47% use
i. Stewart Street Elementary, Capacity 765 / Enrollment 718 - 94% use
j. James A. Shanks Middle, Capacity 938 / Enrollment 450 - 48% use
k. East Gadsden High, Capacity 1464 / Enrollment 790 - 54% use
l. West Gadsden High, Capacity 681 / Enrollment 519 - 76% use
The proposal goes on to recommend that West Gadsden students in grades 9 through 12 be moved to East Gadsden High in 2017-2018. West Gadsden High would then become a middle school. Students at Greensboro Elementary would see students in grades 4 and 5 move from Greensboro Elem. to West Gadsden Middle.
Greensboro Elem. will become a primary school (PK-3) and West Gadsden will become a grade 4 through 8 middle school, also in 2017-2018.
Gretna Elementary operations would be suspended. George W. Munroe Elementary would see students in grades 4 and 5 move to Shanks Middle School in 2017-2018.
George Munroe would become a primary school and Shanks Middle will become a 4-8 grade middle school. St. John Elementary students in grades 4 and 5 will move from St. John to Shanks Middle School and grades PK through 3 will move to George Munroe Primary. St. John Elem. would see operations suspended.
In 2018-2019, Chattahoochee Elementary students in grades 4 and 5 will move from Chattahoochee to West Gadsden Middle and grades 1, 2 and 3 to Greensboro Primary School. Chattahoochee would become an Early Learning Center with grades PK and KG. Carter Parramore could see a relocation to the possibly suspended school site at Gretna facility. The CPA site would be razed in preparation for a new K-8 school.
In 2020-2021, Stewart Street Elementary would relocate to the new K-8 facility on the old CPA site. The Stewart Street facility would be reviewed for repurposing for other district use. Also in ‘20-’21, Gadsden Elem. Magnet students would move to the new K-8 school at old CPA site. GEMS becomes a SWS at the new K-8 school.
After all of the closures, combines, demolitions and when the dust settles, the projected 2017-2018 enrollments at the reconfigured schools are expected to be:
• West Gadsden Middle - Capacity 681 / Enrollment 426
• Greensboro Primary - C 513 / E 432
• George Munroe Primary - C 885 / E 522
• Shanks Middle - C 938 / E 676
• East Gadsden High - C 1464 / E 1056
It is to be noted in Superintendent Milton's plan that the following projected personnel and costs (including fringes) are 'ball park' figures that will fluctuate up and down throughout the reconfiguration process depending on the many variables that must be taken into consideration until the final plan is adopted. These projections will serve as a starting point for discussion, planning and decision-making.
• James A. Shanks Middle School 2017-2018 – Total costs of all current staff including administrative, clerical, custodial, food service, paraprofessionals, teachers and others: $2,531,892.00 for 61 staff. Projected staff will increase to 68; Projected total cost is $2,938,081.90.
• West Gadsden Middle School 2017-2018 – Total costs of all current staff including administrative, clerical, custodial, food service, paraprofessionals, teachers and others: $2,251,235.00 for 56 staff. Projected staff will decrease to 52; Projected total cost is $2,094,327.62.
• East Gadsden High School 2017-2018 – Total costs of all current staff including administrative, clerical, custodial, food service, paraprofessionals, teachers and others: $4,132,031.00 for 96 staff. Projected staff will increase to 103; Projected total cost is $4,464,231.84.
• George W. Munroe Primary School 2017-2018 – Total costs of all current staff including administrative, clerical, custodial, food service, paraprofessionals, teachers and others: $2,385,690.00 for 62 staff. Projected staff will decrease to 59; Projected total cost is $2,239,136.67.
• Greensboro Primary School 2017-2018 – Total costs of all current staff including administrative, clerical, custodial, food service, paraprofessionals, teachers: $1,584,855.00 for 39 staff. Projected staff will be 44; Projected total costs is $1,821,558.26.
Projected savings from suspending operations at Gretna and St. John elementary schools is $3,604,996.00. Taking away the increased personnel cost for EGHS, JASM, and Gboro Primary of $975,092.00, the projected total savings is $2,629,904.00.