School Board Moves Forward With Plans To Close Schools

Bay County School Board members are moving forward with plans to close some schools this fall. Superintendent Bill Husfelt recommended a plan that affects several of the district's middle schools, and board members approved the recommendation for advertisement. But the decision doesn't seem to be easy for anyone.

School board members are going along with the middle school consolidation plan, at least for now. The plan calls for re-zoning Rosenwald Middle School students, then moving A.D. Harris High School students to Rosenwald's campus. Some Rosenwald supporters aren't happy with the decision.

"Unless you can explain to me how you can pass up a plan that saves 500,000 more than the plan you intend to choose, I don't know if I'll be able to support much of anything you decide to do in the future," Stuart Guilford, Rosenwald Middle School Teacher.

Although it will save less money, Husfelt says the middle school option is more viable, than changing some schools to k-8 facilities. He says that option would require construction changes, making for a more difficult transition.

Still, others questioned why Rosenwald was targeted, when the students have been successful.

"I do have a little bit of a problem of taking an A school after we've talked all this time about how important an A school is, in making that change," said Ryan Neves, Bay Co. School Brd. Member.

Husfelt says he purposely didn't choose schools based on grade, so people would not think the district was targeting those schools or schools with lower socioeconomic status.

"If I'd have said Everitt we would have all the Eagles here tonight. If I'd have recommended Jinks we'd have all the Jinks people here tonight. It's a no-win situation. No matter what we say we're going to have the same comments from the same group of people that care just as much about their school as you do," said Bill Husfelt, Bay Co. School Superintendent.

Several schools would be affected by either plan. Emerald bay academy will close, and those students will be integrated into other schools. Millville elementary will be re-purposed into Margaret K. Lewis School. West Bay Elementary and Haney High School will both close. And Shaw adult and Haney Career Center will be combined.

School board members approved the recommendation for advertisement. But the board could alter the plan, without re-advertising, when it comes up for a final vote on February 18.

"You have the authority to open and close schools and you can do so with just the recommendation from the Superintendent. You are going beyond probably anything that's been done in any district in Florida in getting public input in what you're doing," said Franklin Harrison, Bay Co. School Brd. Attorney.

Husfelt also requested the board stop adding grades at the New Breakfast Point Academy for now.

Officials have not decided yet what they will do with the closed school buildings.

Board members will hold workshops at each of the affected schools to get more ideas and input, between now and the vote.

School Closing Workshops:
Jan. 26 at Millville Elementary
Jan. 27 at Haney High School
Jan. 29 at Margaret K. Lewis
Feb. 5 at West Bay Elementary
Feb. 9 at A.D. Harris High
Feb. 12 at Rosenwald Elementary
All Workshops at 5:30 p.m.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by concerned parent on Jan 18, 2009 at 07:02 AM
    BRING ON THE SALES TAX!!! WHERE IS ALL THE LOTTO MONEY? HOW MUCH IS SPENT ON THE FCAT?
  • by MAD MOM Location: CALLAWAY on Jan 17, 2009 at 11:57 AM
    ROSENWALD IS AN A SCHOOL AND MEETS THE STATE AYP.THE SCHOOL ALSO HAS A GIFTED PROGRAM. WHY WOULD YOU CLOSE THE SCHOOL AND SEND STUDENTS A FEW MILES DOWN THE ROAD TO THE ONLY C MIDDLE SCHOOL IN BAY COUNTY? THERE ARE MANY OUT OF ZONE STUDENTS WHO ATTEND ROSENWALD BECAUSE IT HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER.
  • by Native2 Location: springfield on Jan 17, 2009 at 07:11 AM
    Sorry,but the better solution is either a statewide increase of 2 cent sales tax or a $1.00 a month on property taxes to make up for the past wasted monies of the state of Florida.Now is the best time to start paying attention to government waste and start voting people out of office that help sponsor that waste.Husfelt is much like Obama, in that he has come into a fine mess of overspending and waste before he got the office.
  • by concerned parent on Jan 16, 2009 at 10:49 AM
    HOW CAN THE SCHOOL BOARD JUSTIFY BUILDING TWO NEW K-8 SCHOOLS AND CLOSING EXISTING SCHOOLS. THE IMPACT CLOSING SCHOOLS WILL HAVE ON STUDENTS,TEACHERS,AND PARENTS WILL BE DEVASTATNG.THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER SOLUTION.
  • by ANOTHER CONCERNED R.M.S PARENT. Location: P.C FLORIDA on Jan 16, 2009 at 06:56 AM
    I WANT TO BEGIN BY SAYING THANKS TO ALL THE TEACHERS AND STAFF AT R.M.S MY SON HAS GROWN TO BE A RESPECFUL YOUNG MAN AND HE IS SO AFFECTED BY THIS. I ALONG WITH ALOT OF OTHER PARENTS HATE TO SEE THIS "A" SCHOOL CLOSE AFTER HOW FAR IT'S BROUGHT OUR CHILDREN THERE HAS TO BE SOMETHING ELSE THAT CAN BE DONE NOT ONLY IS IT GONNA BE A PROBLEM FOR THE PARENTS BUT IT'S GONNA BE A BIG PROBLEM FOR OUR KIDS TO ADJUST TO ANOTHER SCHOOL THAT IS'NT THEIRS JUST WATCH HOW REPORT CARDS WILL CHANGE MORE KIDS WILL FAIL AND IT'S BAD ENOUGH TEACHERS ARE WORKING HARD NOW THEY WILL WORK EVEN HARDER AND NOT GET PAID MORE ANYWAY. SAY NO TO CLOSING R.M.S
  • by Concerned RMS Parent Location: Panama City on Jan 15, 2009 at 09:24 PM
    I just don't understand how you can take an 'A' school and move the kids to other schools after they have worked so hard to make the grade the State has set forth. It would be easier for Elem. school kids to combine into fewer schools/classes then it would be for middle school kids. Middle school kids must pass the 'FCAT' and peer presure while elem. school aged kids only have to worry about the 'FCAT' in the 5th grade. Middle school kids first have to adjust to middle school life and now they are going to have to adjust to a whole different scholl and teachers. Thanks to the teachers at Rosenwald the teachers are SO GREAT!!! GO BULLDOGS!!!
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