Meriwether County school board votes for combined middle/high sc - WRBL

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Meriwether County school board votes for combined middle/high schools in Greenville and Manchester

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There was standing room only at the special called school board meeting in Greenville Friday night as parents awaited the vote that would determine the future of their county schools. The 5 member board voted to combine the middle and high school in Manchester and the middle and high school in Greenville, which was the second option for the board.

After the board voted in a 3-2 decision, there was much excitement in the room. Board members Seth McInvale, board chair Leon Coverson and Willie A. Hinton Jr. all voted for option 2, the middle/high school combinations. While vice chair Robert Hawk and board member Allen Parham voted for option 1, which was to combine Manchester and Greenville High Schools and the middle schools as well.

"We will close the current Greenville middle school. It's an old, open campus, and they will be placed in a wing at Greenville high school," said Superintendent Carol Lane.

The meeting lasted only a couple of minutes. After board members heard the public's concerns in 2 previous forums, there wasn't any additional discussion Friday night. Some Manchester parents, who were concerned about the possibility of combining the high schools because of transportation issues, were grateful to hear the news.

"Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. This has happened tonight. I'm really excited, really excited," said Daphaney Dyer.

Not everyone in attendance was happy with the board's decision. Some wanted the two high schools to merge.

"I felt that it would bring better opportunities. It would bring a new energy to Meriwether county. We would have a better curriculum. We could recruit better teachers," said Shantika Ogletree.

For everyone in Meriwether county, the board's decision will lead to a property tax increase. Superintendent Carol Lane says at this point it will be approximately a 1.44 mil increase but could be reduced. The district will be able to balance the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The school board is discussing placing 6th grade Greenville students in one of the elementary schools after parent's voiced concerned. The changes will take place in August, and Lane hopes they will also be able to restore some teacher furlough days.

As News 3 has reported, officials had to vote on this issue to make up a nearly one million dollar shortfall in their next fiscal year.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

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