Proposed School Changes Not Sitting Well in Jackson County

A group of Jackson County parents are going to battle with the School Board over the future of several schools.

Board members want to bus Grand Ridge High School students to Sneads, and then use the building for a middle school.

The plan also calls for Jackson Academy for Applied Technology to move into the new Marianna High School.

Thursday afternoon started out with students and parents sending out an S.O.S to anybody that would hear them as they picketed in front of the Jackson County School Board offices.

The public hearing that followed was full of even more fireworks.

"I'm urging you please. Let me finish. Please have compassion. You can simply move teachers to another facility instead of closing down the high school."

Jackson County Superintendent Danny Sims and school board members say class size reduction standards is the driving force behind the reconfiguration.

"When one school is over staffed and they have those classes with 30 and 35 and it's not fair to the students."

But the parents at this meeting say the changes will do more harm than good especially for students who attend Jackson Academy of Applied Technology, a school that focuses on giving students individual attention.

"It will no longer exist as it does today and it will no longer serve the students that it does today. Something has to be done for these special needs kids."

Parents vowed to remember this when it's time to head to the polls again.

"You have a decision that I would not want to make, but also I am a registered voter, and sometimes one vote counts."

Students fearing change also asked board members to think with their hearts before making a final decision.

"I don't think we should put a tax dollar symbol on the head of students when it comes to education."

Parents are also concerned about the lack of activities their children will be able participate in if their forced to compete in a larger school population.

The school board plans to meet on September 20th to take make a final decision on reconfiguration.