A proposal to the Troup County Board of Education for upcoming fiscal year changes includes the possibilities of closing Unity Elementary School; cutting extension, art and music teachers; and raising taxes among long-range plans that would reconfigure how schools serve the county.
The proposals, which were created by the school system’s Advisory Task Force made up of school officials, parents and others from the community, includes a Plan A, which schools Superintendent Cole Pugh described as the bare minimum the school system will need to do to make it through another year, and Plan B, which includes sweeping changes that would create larger schools serving more students, relocating some schools, redrawing districts and opening new schools in place of others while leaving more room for growth.
Both plans include redrawing attendance for elementary schools zones to create more efficient bus routes. Staff is estimating a $3.2 to $4 million deficit next fiscal year.
Plan A includes proposals to eliminate extension teachers and art and music in elementary schools, which would save about $3 million combined, and increase the millage rate, which, if raised by 1 mill, is expected to generate $1.8 million. Also suggested is again shortening the school calendar like the system implemented in 2010, which saved $411,224.
The plan still would include improvements at schools, which would be paid for with special-purpose, local-option sales tax funds, which are restricted to capital outlay and building projects.
Plan B includes closing Unity Elementary School, a $1.1 million expected savings, while still implementing some options listed in Plan A. Overall, it also would include long-term plans for reconfiguring school zones and improving other elementary school sites to create fewer, larger, more-efficient campuses. The proposal by the Advisory Task Force was to create 10 elementary schools with corresponding attendance zones county-wide, each school having a 750-student capacity.
With Plan B’s long-range focus, closure of Berta Weathersbee and Mountville elementary schools also would be an option down the road, with relocation of Rosemont, West Point and Whitesville Road elementary schools to different locations and bigger facilities to help complete the vision of having larger facilities that would more efficiently serve more students.
“What we’ve done, here’s a Plan A and a Plan B, and there may be a Plan C out there that’s even better,” Pugh told board members, noting that staff was not yet asking board members to take action on any proposals. “Let’s start to get feedback on here and see what people come up with before we make a decision.”
Check back with LaGrange Daily News on Friday for more on the proposals and tonight’s Board of Education meeting.