MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Bibb County parents were loud and clear Wednesday, voicing their opinions at the first of a series of public forums about big changes that could come to four elementary schools.
Some parents are not pleased about the school district's proposal to reconfigure grades at Jones and King-Danforth Elementary Schools.
The district says the move would save at least $300,000. Jones would house students in Pre-K through second grade, while third through fifth graders would go to King-Danforth.
One grandfather of students at Jones doesn't see how operating two different schools will save the district any money.
"We've got classrooms that are open that we can fill with those students and just have one school," says Chester Brown.
Parents are also worried about safety. Some students who walk to school would have to cross busy Shurling Drive to get to class, and parents with students at both schools would have to fight the traffic to pick up their kids on time.
"That is a dangerous highway," says Eddye Seabrooks-Langston. "I go up and down that highway every day, and I see people trying to cross that street every day, and it's very difficult to get across it."
Interim superintendent Dr. Steve Smith noted the highway's high traffic and also said the district would likely have to pay to bus those students back and forth. That raised the question of whether the move would actually save much money.
Parents will get one more chance to voice their concern about the proposed Jones/King-Danforth reconfiguration on Monday at 6:30 at King-Danforth Elementary School.
On Tuesday and on June 18, two separate public forums will be held at the same time at Barden and Burghard Elementarys, respectively, about the proposed closure of Barden.
Budget Deadline Nearing
The idea of consolidating these schools is a move that is supposed to help the school district out of its $18.7 million budget deficit.
Last week, board members were scheduled to vote on a preliminary budget that included the mergers, but the vote was tabled. At Wednesday's forum, some board members admitted they were against approving the budget last week until they got more feedback from the community.
The board is set to vote again on a preliminary budget Thursday at 5. Final adoption is set for June 24.