Updated: Questions and Comments from the Public Hearings with MCSS Responses
Question/Comment: The GEWES facility will be sold to Flint River Academy.
MCSS Response: This is not true. The use of the facility is yet to be determined. At no time has the sale of the school property to any entity including FRA been considered.
Question/Comment: The School System is performing poorly.
MCSS Response: In 2019, MCSS improved 4.2 percentage points where the State fell 0.7 percentage points. We are improving. This plan should help us provide a better elementary education for the children.
Question/Comment: Reasoning for placing low-achieving students into a different learning environment.
MCSS Response: Not improving the education of our children should be the larger concern. If the current environment is producing low achieving students, the answer is to change their environment. GEWES has consistently been the lowest performing elementary school in the county. The system has tried many ways to improve outcomes. The children will be moved to higher performing schools. They will see some of the same teachers. Those teachers will have more colleagues teaching the same material so they can encourage and help each other. Students will benefit from more than one teacher per grade/subject. More teachers allow the schools to narrow the focus of the teachers’ instruction so students benefit from their teachers’ expertise. Also, the students will benefit from being in a slightly larger school that can offer more extracurricular activities, art activities, remedial help, and opportunities for gifted students.
Question/Comment: Overcrowding at UES and MVES. One e-mail said MVES had 900 last year.
MCSS Response: In 2019-2020 MVES has 670 students and UES has 290 students. We have plenty of room to add the GEWES students and not be at capacity at either school. In fact, both MVES and UES will still be considered small elementary schools.
Question/Comment: Closing GEWES was not the solution to the financial problems.
MCSS Response: This proposal is not about finances it is about giving children a better education.
Question/Comment: Increased cost of busing and time on the bus.
MCSS Response: The truth is the 154 students going to UES will have one additional mile for the shortest route and those with the longest route will have a 1.2 mile reduction in distance. The 89 students who live close enough to GEWES to walk to school who will go to MVES will have a bus ride of 8.6 miles. The maximum distance will increase from 6.3 to 12.7 miles, an increase of 6.4 miles. The other 13 students going to MVES will have a reduction of a tenth of a mile in minimum distance and the decrease of (.9) of a mile for those with the maximum distance.
Question/Comment: Close MHS, combine MHS and GHS at the current GMHS campus. Transfer GMS students to MMS to combine the middle schools.
MCSS Response: The MMS facility is not large enough to house the enrollment of both GMS and MMS and still provide an educational environment conducive to learning. This scenario would be a transportation nightmare. There would be buses from the north end of the county transporting middle schoolers to Manchester, and buses from the south end of the county transporting middle schoolers to Greenville.
Question/Comment: This proposal promotes division and we need unity.
MCSS Response: For the students, it will mean less division and more continuity. Students will start school with the same group they will graduate with in High School. Currently, students exiting Grade 5 from GEWES are divided between GMS and MMS. This realignment will prevent this division of classmates and will allow cohorts of students to remain together as they transition from elementary school to middle school.
MCSS Summary: The students will benefit if this proposal is adopted. This is the best decision to improve their success in life.