Calhoun School Consolidation Delayed

Dozens of parents crowded the Calhoun County School Board meeting room Tuesday evening to see if board members would do away with a part of the county's educational history.

The board was considering a plan to consolidate Altha School and Blountstown High School into one new school, but a decision was not to be, at least not Tuesday night.

The proposal to merge Altha and Blountstown High School students has been out there for more than 15 months, and it looks like it will be at least one more month before there's a decision on the plan.

Superintendent Mary Sue Neves is a major proponent of this consolidation process, saying it would increase facility's dollars, heighten academic vocational programs, and help to find higher qualified teachers.

Critics claim it would double driving time, and lessen the chances of playing in extra-curricular activities.

Many of the Altha parents did their best to talk the board out of the consolidation idea, or at least delay a decision.

Kelly King, a Calhoun County resident, was outspoken on the issue.

"I think that Oct 10th is too soon. I think they still have a lot of information to gather. They've been dealing with this for 15 months. This is a decision that's going to affect our children for over a lifetime."

Others like Bo Barfield thought it was best to but the issue to a vote now.

"I believe that it's best to go ahead and vote on it in October while the members of the school board who have been there for four years are able to gather all the facts, and they're the ones who need to make decisions."

The school board voted three to two to delay a final vote until next month.

Even if the school consolidation passes, there is a lot work ahead. School officials haven't even decided on a site for a new high school, and construction could take several years.