In ’08, E. Fayette’s fate is on the line

Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:00am
By: John Thompson

For nearly six months last year, the educational community and Fayette’s parents were consumed by the lengthy process in drawing new boundaries for the county’s elementary schools.

But as the calendar page turns to 2008, one of the main focuses of the Fayette County Board of Education will be the fate of the county’s oldest school, East Fayette Elementary on Fayetteville’s east side off Ga. Highway 54.

At least two school board members, Marion Key and Dr. Bob Todd, are adamant the school should be “repurposed” and used for other uses.

During the boundary discussions, Assistant Superintendent of Operations Lyn Wenzel told the board that East Fayette could be used to house the system’s involuntary alternative school, along with the school nutrition program and after-school program.

But board member Janet Smola wanted to know what would be done with the cafeteria at East Fayette and Wenzel replied that it would be used to feed the alternative students at the school and would also be used for the system’s nutrition program.

“We spent a million dollars on that kitchen to turn it into a training facility?” questioned Smola.

School officials also said that closing the school would result in an annual savings of $644,000 in administrative salaries, but some board members questioned whether the facility would not have to be re-opened in five years if the growth rate in the county started surging again.

Smola has been adamant in listening to the people when it comes to the school’s fate. During the final vote on the boundaries, Smola made it quite clear she wanted the process followed in closing a school, which requires a public hearing. Before the public hearing, Facilities Director Mike Satterfield will have to submit the proper paperwork to the state detailing the county’s intentions. After that process is completed, the public hearing could come as spring approaches.

If the school closes, the school that would be impacted the most would be Spring Hill Elementary in the center of Fayetteville.

The closing would set off a chain reaction that would send students at Lakeside and Lakemont subdivisions on from Spring Hill Elementary School to Minter Elementary, located near Whitewater High School off Ga. Highway 85 south of Fayetteville.

The influx of East Fayette students in 2009 would push Spring Hill’s population to nearly 700 students. The board agreed that if East Fayette were closed, another vote on the boundaries for the East Fayette students would have to occur in 2008.

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Submitted by ACBWrap on Sat, 01/05/2008 - 9:32am.

I want to understand why a new school was not built on the east side of Fayetteville in the beginning to replace E. Fayette. I know it's a mute point now, but how much consideration was given to building a school on the east side of the City instead of 7 miles away from the existing school in a rural area. What were the road blocks to building a school on the East side of town? IMO the biggest injustice is that a new school is not being built in that community, a community that has some of the most affordable homes in the area, that empty nesters will be vacating and young families with young kids moving in. The students at E. Fayette do deserve a new school, in their existing community, but not at the expense of moving so many other students.

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