Final chance for public input

Published 11:03 pm Monday, March 28, 2011

An outside consultant had suggested the idea and presented it to an earlier Selma City School Board and superintendent, but it was not until January the proposed closing of Byrd Elementary, School of Discovery and the Phoenix School nearly became a reality.

During a work session in January, Selma superintendent of education Donald Jefferson proposed the closures, which would go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year. After that meeting, a process was put in place to evaluate the proposed plan, seek public input and then reach a final decision.

Another part of that process will come to a close Tuesday evening at School of Discovery when the final public input session will begin at 6 p.m.

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“We have been extremely pleased with the participation and the discussion,” Jefferson said Monday. “This is an important part of the process and we wanted to hear from the citizens and they have been outstanding.”

Jefferson said it is his plan to provide a summary to residents Tuesday of some of the figures surrounding the proposed closures.

“I want to make sure everyone there knows the numbers we are working with and why this proposed plan may be needed,” Jefferson said.

After a school board meeting in February, in which the board announced plans for the public sessions, Jefferson said he hoped to provide a final proposal to the school board in April and have them reach a decision.

“That’s what we are working toward right now,” Jefferson said.

The board has scheduled its next work session for Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 p.m. and Jefferson expects the school closure plan to dominate the session.

“I would expect it to take up most of the meeting,” Jefferson said.

The board, which can only discuss matters in the public work session on April 4, cannot vote on any item. The next school board meeting, which would allow public votes, will be Thursday, April 14 at 6 p.m. and will be held in the J.A. Pickard Auditorium on the School of Discovery Campus.