BoE moves forward with Elcan-King closure

Published 3:41 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

Thursday night the Board of Education unanimously decided to consolidate Elcan-King Elementary with the four remaining elementary schools in the Decatur County school district.

Prior to making this decision, Superintendent Tim Cochran made numerous presentations to City Council, County Commission, Rotary Club and the school board to get input on how to make this change as seamless as possible.

In addition to that, the BOE also held two public hearings that allowed parents and members of the community to voice their opinions and concerns.

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Cochran realizes people may feel uneasy not knowing what tomorrow holds, but said this final decision allows them to move forward and start notifying parents and making plans immediately.

Jones Wheat, Potter Street and West Bainbridge will be the primary schools absorbing the remaining students from Elcan-King, with John- Johnson accepting a few as well.

The residents on the west side of the river would attend West Bainbridge Elementary. The residents who live in the Northern part of the city and in Climax would transfer to Jones Wheat Elementary and the overflow from Elcan-King would attend Potter Street Elementary. This would just be a preliminary of renderings; the BOE realizes they may have to bump a road, depending on the max number of students that can attend a school.

WBE and JWE would see the largest number of new attendants. Both schools were built for 750 students, and after transfers new estimates of students would put both schools around 680 students.

This was not a hastily made decision, the Board has been discussing merging for years and with the dropping enrollment, this year seemed like an opportune time.

“At some point you have to stop the bleed,” Cochran said.

Cochran knows they have a lot of work ahead of them, but plans for every parent to know something in the next ten days and begin work on rezoning immediately.

For children who have registered for preschool, the selection has not been made yet, but they will also be notified of their changes.

Cochran realizes there will probably be a lot of questions, and he is more than happy to answer them. However, he is ready to move forward with the future and believes this is the best long-term solution for Bainbridge.

There are no definite plans for the building as of yet, but it may possibly be turned into a football game parking lot in the future. Cochran said that decision is far away, but is in the back of their minds.