Bay County school board members were on the road again Monday evening visiting A.D. Harris High School. They talked to educators, parents and students about the proposed changes to meet the budget cuts facing the district.
Audience members had plenty of questions about the proposal, which calls for Rosenwald Middle School to be re-purposed to serve A.D. Harris students. A.D. Harris High School would close.
Superintendent Bill Husfelt says he has a vision for A.D. Harris to provide new opportunities for students with a harder focus on academics.
Current teachers and administrators would have to re-interview for their positions, due to contract obligations with the association of bay county educators. Some people say splitting up the faculty will be a detriment to the students, many of which attend the school because they weren't successful on other campuses.
"Our students are going to lose and our teachers, I understand some of them are going to lose their jobs. What I want to feel good about is that you are fighting for us just like these students, parents, teachers, principals are fighting for this school and the schools in this community," said Clem Pinckney, A.D. Harris Advisory Council President.
"Someone said already that our minds are made up. The superintendent will tell you I have I have asked him about several situations, several times for him not just one time but several times for him to make it clearer, more plain so that we can make an educated decision," said Jerry Register, a Bay Co. School board member.
"I have dedicated and committed 17 years to this school and I know that I'm good at what I do. The problem I have with that is to know that my dedication and commitment when I have to re-interview for a position of where I want to be and where my heart's at, I just feel a little disappointed," said Michelle Hastings, A.D. Harris math teacher.
"I'm not trying to minimize what we're doing here, but it is true that this is about saving teacher's jobs and this first part of this entire process is about saving teachers’ jobs and providing quality education for every student of Bay County," said Ryan Neves, Bay Co. School Board member.
"The teachers here have been wonderful for him and he is excelling and so I hate to see the rapport that he has built with these teachers here at A.D. Harris be lost when they go to Rosenwald," said Mary Spice, an A.D. Harris parent.
If Rosenwald does become A.D. Harris High School, board members say they will do everything they can to ensure students are successful, including a continuation of the daycare program for students with children. The final vote will take place on February 18th.