Barbara Clark, a board member from District 9, addresses the Jasper County School District with her hesitations about the proposed budget.(Photo: Rachel Heaton, The Island Packet)
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Plans to consolidate Jasper County's middle and high schools before the next school year begins are under way.
Principals have been chosen, the schools have been tentatively named, bus routes have been drawn up, and more advanced courses are planned.
Jasper County School District superintendent Vashti Washington discussed some of the decisions with the district's Board of Trustees Monday night, two weeks after the board voted to consolidate the schools.
Middle-schoolers will attend the Hardeeville campus, tenatively named Hardeeville-Ridgeland Middle School.
High-schoolers will attend the tenatively titled Ridgeland-Hardeeville High School in Ridgeland.
Among the details announced Monday:
Washington has said the consolidation will save the district money. According to a budget presentation Monday night, 11 full-time positions will be eliminated next school year, but an exact savings was not presented.
Washington has estimated it would be about $500,000.
Some school board members have advocated for overturning the decision. They began circulating a letter about a week ago that asked residents to call other board members and Washington to persuade them to revisit the issue.
But a few community members urged the board to stop fighting Monday.
"Jasper County is too small and too poor to fight among ourselves," the Rev. Thomas McClary said. "What is wrong with consolidation if it makes a better school? We can have a better school if we work together, but if we continue this fight ... it will go down the drain."
Meetings to update parents on curriculum, uniforms and other school information have been planned for 7:45 to 8:45 p.m. Tuesday at the Ridgeland campus and at the same time Thursday on the Hardeeville campus. Meetings in Spanish will be held at both locations beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The board also approved a $24.8 million budget that calls for spending $348,000 in reserves.