News and Tribune

June 17, 2008

New Albany-Floyd County school closure seems likely

Pine View, Silver Street elementaries on list, but advice could change

By TARA HETTINGER

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Click here to see the options list.



A committee tasked with saving New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp. money has come up with three options � all of which involve closing a school.

Meeting notes from a May Resources for Results committee meeting show the group discussed four options � the first two involved closing Silver Street Elementary School and the other two involved closing Pine View Elementary School. The group unanimously agreed to eliminate option No. 1.

The group agreed to move the final three ideas into a more detailed review stage and meet again in July for an update.

The committee�s consultant, Phyllis Amick, talked to the NA-FC school board Monday night about the group�s progress.

Amick told the board and the audience that it would be �premature to discuss details� of the work the committee has completed thus far. She said the group has met more than 20 times in the course of two years and discussed an �enormous� amount of information, such as demographic reports, enrollment changes, housing projections in the city and county, classroom utilization, school performance and more.

Amick said some of the group�s findings include keeping small classes, having at least two classes per grade at each school, that split classes are not ideal and bussing is not a good option.

She said the goal is to tweak some final options and have public forums in September to inform residents of everything the members have learned so far and why they think the proposed options work. Amick said at that time, the committee members will ask for the public�s opinion and see if anyone has any ideas they have not considered.

Before Amick�s presentation, many concerned members of the community addressed the board on the issue. Some talked about the committee meetings being �behind closed doors.� One even said he is outraged the public is not invited or allowed to attend.

Kathy Ayres talked about hearing rumors in 2006 that Silver Street Elementary was being considered for closure.

�I was told the rumors were unfounded, then I got the (meeting) notes and found that was untrue,� Ayres said. �That�s very disturbing to be told one thing and find out another is fact.�

Rebecca Gardenour, board president and committee member, addressed some of the rumors about the group that have been circulating around the community after Amick�s presentation.

�I�m shocked by allegations that this has been secretive,� she said, mentioning that she and other committee members have been and continue to be available for questions. �I�m real disappointed in that rumor.

�There will be input (from the public). That was the deal from the get-go.�

Board member Neal Smith said he will wait until the committee is done researching the options before asking questions.

�It�s not time to ask the questions yet,� he said. �A lot of people have jumped the gun here.�

Superintendent Dennis Brooks, who formed the committee, said he hopes to have many public forums, which will be informal and small, so that meaningful dialog can occur.

�We hope that when this is finished that you will see that it was a very transparent process,� he said to the audience.

Amick said the dates of those sessions will be decided and announced sometime in August.



also at the meeting

� The board approved the sale of the general-services building at 618 E. Market St. for $425,000 to LifeSpring.

� The board approved awarding the bid of $114,777 to Insulated Roofing Inc. for the Georgetown Elementary School foam roof recoating project.

� The board approved awarding the bid of $596,573 to Spear Corp. for the New Albany High School pool design project. Bill Wiseheart, director of facilities, said this will pay to fix problems with the pool, which is nearing 30 years old.

� The board approved awarding the bid of $1,004,000 to Frontier Enterprises for the NAHS weight room addition base-bid project, including the alternate to install hollow metal windows.

� The board approved awarding $4,923,000 in bids for Floyd Central High School�s athletic complex, which was less than the $5.7 million budget for the project. The site work and utilities bid went to Team Contracting for $1,634,000. The permanent grandstands/pressbox and buildings bid went to AML for $2,804,000. The site electrical and lighting bid went to Custer Electric for $485,000.

� The board also approved $887,569 for nine projects, most of which were on the alternate list. James Lusk, president of Verkler � which is managing the construction projects � told the board since many projects came in under budget and most of the more than $2 million in contingency funds, which is money set aside for unknown costs that may be incurred during construction, were not used, those projects were able to be picked up.

� Bill Briscoe, assistant to the superintendent for administration and operations, announced to the board that the next collective bargaining session is set for June 26.

� The next school board meeting is July 14.





WHAT�S NEXT

The Resources for Results committee has set the following timeline:

� June-July: Further detailing of options � review by various departments, such as transportation and curriculum.

� August: Final review by committee

� September: Public meetings

� October: Completion and submission of report to superintendent and school board



OPTION ONE

� Students in the Silver Street district would have a choice to attend either S. Ellen Jones or Fairmont elementaries.



OPTION TWO

� Move Silver Street Elementary students to Fairmont, Slate Run, S. Ellen Jones and Pine View elementaries.



OPTION THREE

� Send Pine View Elementary School students to S. Ellen Jones and Fairmont elementaries.



OPTION FOUR

� Change boundaries for each of the following schools: Mt. Tabor, Green Valley, S. Ellen Jones and possibly Fairmont elementaries. Move Pine View students to Green Valley and S. Ellen Jones.