Rated one of the best systems in Georgia, the Fayette County School System has been forced to address what can become a blemish on the District’s reputation. Monday night the Fayette County Board of Education voted to close four of its schools: Fayette Middle School, Brooks Elementary, Tyrone Elementary and Fayetteville Intermediate School. Nearly 300 people packed the meeting and were not happy with the board’s decision, and the possible impact it will have on the community.
Last month anxious parents pleaded with the school board to look at other solutions to the district’s $15 million dollar budget shortfall. The district is only saving about $ 4 million dollars with the school closings and will still needs to find an additional $11 million to balance the budget. The board anticipates making up that shortfall in program cuts and unfortunately layoffs.
Melinda Berry-Dreisbach with the district told CBS Atlanta News the lack of revenue is the result of two issues: an economic down turn impacted by the troubled housing market and declining property values, and the fact that the county is not growing. Ironically, Fayette County Schools built new facilities anticipating growth, but within a few years realized that the district had overbuilt.
Parent Melissa Hill’s daughter attends Tyrone Elementary School and was among parents at the Monday night meeting. Like many other parents, she is very upset by the board’s vote.
Hill told CBS Atlanta News, "The town is going to suffer. The real estate is going to suffer. The kids are going to suffer. It floors me that four people can decide our fate.”
The Fayette County School System joins the ranks of other districts having to pushing forward new attendance zones on unwilling neighborhoods.
The most recent Redistricting, Boundary Maps, and School Closures Updates can be found on the homepage of the Fayette County Schools Website.
Fayette School System’s Redistricting Committee is expected to present its final plan during the March 18 regular board meeting.
The schools are expected to close next school year.