Saturday, May 14, 2016

City-area Schools May Be Reconfigured

Fairhope, Alabama


District School Board Representative Cecil Christenberry told the Times he favors the recommendation of the Baldwin School Task Force for conversion of Fairhope Elementary and Intermediate schools into  kindergarten through six grades instead, to make better use of the total classroom space available in this feeder pattern.

The Elementary School is nearing capacity now.

Since the Larry J. Newton school south of town, already a K-6, is being under-utilized -- the main problem will be figuring out how to balance attendance between the three with minimal disruptions for the children and their parents.

The old Intermediate school on the corner of Bishop Road and Fairhope Avenue may need to be refurbished.


At their last two worksessions, the mayor and council began discussing passing a resolution of support for the reconfiguration, but made no final decision.
April 2016 Fairhope council session

The matter came up briefly at a Education Advisory Committee meeting two week ago as well: when a member asked about it, a consultant from the Akrobos Group said that converting to K-6's is the trend statewide now, but the primary problem here is that teachers need more collaboration time -- if entering the top ten systems in the state academically is their goal.

Having smaller class sizes may help free up more time for teacher meetings though.

The consultants were hired to recommend ways to get into the top ten in the state, not deal specifically with growth issues directly; the EAC is expected to make a recommendation to the city council in the near future.

April 2016 EAC meeting

Christenberry also told the Times he favors considering any way the system could raise more funding, but he thought the November general election was too early for a voter referendum to form a special tax district for the city's feeder pattern.

Citizens would have to vote to impose a new 3 mil property tax in the new district.

Special districts are also under consideration for the Gulf shores/Orange Beach and Elberta feeder pattern areas too, according to media reports.

Mayor Kant and most council members have indicated support for the referendum (letting people decide) but not if they personally would support it.

A special tax district is one of the four options recommended by the Akrobos consultants being considered by the EAC as well; about $600K more per year will be needed (to hire more substitute teachers), assuming all other funding remains constant.

The committee was to hold a special meeting last week for further discussions on the matter.


Anonymous said...

who was the dooofus that decided to build a school four miles south of town where it sits half empty? what a waste of tax money!

Anonymous said...

What "dooofus" doesn't know the history of that school four miles south of town? It was opened as a K-8 school and at times was overcrowded. An addition was built and there were even trailers too. The new middle school was built so all Fairhope area 7th & 8th graders attend there and Newton became K-6 about7 years ago.

All I know is that we don't need Fairhope to run its own school system or start some special tax district. The city council should stick to what Fairhope does best - growing flowers and having parades.

Anonymous said...

sure, lets just live in the past and keep the status quo then ... more and more overcrowding on the horizon and less funding... with the education geniuses in Bay Minette at the helm! ... who made the mistakes (Newton School) that created the mess in the first place ... gulp .. .!

... and out of towners used to free handouts controlling us ... telling the real people of Fairhope what we ought to do .. or not to ...

Anonymous said...

Wow. The usual crazy Fairhope haters are out in force today!

Anonymous said...

Admittedly Fairhope's leadership is bumbling and incompetent at times but it is not half a bad as that in the backwater town of Bay Minette or corrupt Goat Hill in Montgomery who created the school mess.

Publisher said...

Please do not let the debate here get out of control.

Anonymous said...

If our own local leaders could take control of the schools they could put God back in the classrooms and save the children from Obama.

Anonymous said...

I see Brewer (the education expert) is front and center.

Anonymous said...

I do not think cecil has time for that job. His store is his first love .... uh .. second one i mean after the wife.

Anonymous said...

If a city system will keep Obama from turning our kids into cross dressers then count me in.

anyone else?

Anonymous said...

The property valuations have recently been issued. I analyzed ours for the 12 years we have owned our home. Particularly interesting is the land valuation in three years has increased $95K. Roughly the same period of time as all the efforts to renew and increase mileage. Sure makes one suspect this is a backdoor way to increase the funding to the schools as the ballot measures have failed. Oh and the penny tax renewal comes up next.

Anonymous said...

Cecel should run for mayor.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the inane Obama comments . I'm sure he is to blame for all the issues that the Baldwin County Education System has. It would be more productive to talk about why, in this day and age of increasing global competition, why Baldwin voters decided against increasing school funding. Are we so anti-tax that we don't even want our kids to get a world class education? Is this Obama's fault too?