Hamilton County School Board Will Consolidate Three Elementary Schools

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Updated By: Winnie Wright
Updated: April 14, 2014, 11pm

Three elementary schools are set to close-- and many parents are ready to throw the book. Those three elementary schools are in Hamilton County, and come after a controversial vote during a school board meeting.

Parents from across Hamilton County came together tonight to discuss their support and opposition of the proposed consolidation of North, Central, and South Hamilton Elementary schools.

"I'm opposed to the consolidation of the elementary schools in the county because what it will do is, it will take community schools that are in the small towns of White Springs, Jasper, and Jennings and consolidate that in to one larger elementary school. Which will basically, in my opinion, create a lack of parental involvement because it will make it more difficult for parents to participate in a more centralized environment as opposed to how they participate now", says Rhett Bullard, who is opposed to the consolidation.

"I'm for consolidation because it is the most fiscally responsible decision and is the only logical one that serves all of our students, not just a certain population at the south or northern ends of our counties, but it takes into consideration the entire community, and that's what we are. We are a one community. This is Hamilton County and we should all be on the same page", says Elizabeth Mitchell, who supports the legislation.

School board members say their biggest concerns lie with the ages of the schools. Two of the schools up for consolidation are at least six decades old.

School Board Member, Johnny Bullard, says the board voted four to one to consolidate the schools. They estimate the new school in Jasper will cost $24 million.

Bullard also say they don't have a timeline for the building and closing of the schools, but will have a better idea if Hamilton County Schools are given Special Facilities Dollars from the state to use towards the project.

By: Winnie Wright
April 14, 2014, 5pm

A proposal to close three elementary schools is expected to lure lots of parents to the Hamilton County School Board meeting tonight.

The school board meeting will be held at Hamilton High at 6pm tonight.

Among the items on the agenda is the possible closure of three local schools.

According to school board member, Johnny Bullard, Central Hamilton Elementary in Jasper, North Hamilton Elementary in Jennings, and South Hamilton Elementary in White Springs could potentially be consolidated into one school some time in the future.

Bullard says the school board's major concern is the age of the buildings and how sage they are. Both North and South are over six decades old, and Central was built in 1966.

Bullard also says he is against the consolidation and fears it would "tear the heart" out of the White Springs community if they lost the school.

The meeting is expected to be a full house, as it affects the future of schools in three different communities.

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