Anniston schools: 2 to 1 vote puts consolidation decision on next board of ed
by Brian Anderson
Oct 26, 2012 | 3177 views |  0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Consolidation of city schools didn’t come any closer to a reality Thursday night at the Anniston City Board of Education meeting.

An incoming board taking over next month will inherit the headache of how to restructure the school system — a discussion that’s been under way since last November — after the current board turned down a recommendation from Superintendent Joan Frazier on how to handle the situation.

Frazier’s recommendation involved the closing of Anniston Middle School, closing one or two of the city’s elementary schools, and creating a new school for seventh- and eighth-grade students.

Board member William Hutchings disapproved of the recommendation based on the wording of closing one or two elementary schools.

“If we close one school, we need to close two,” Hutchings said. “I don’t want a new board to come in and close one school. I’ll fight that.”

Hutchings said after the meeting he was concerned with equality and worried that if only one school was closed, it would be a predominantly black school.

“All the time I’ve been on the board and they close a school, it’s been a black school,” he said. “It costs just as much to close one school as it does two.”

Board member Arthur Cottingham also expressed concern about the recommendation, saying he didn’t want to feel pressured into voting for the recommendation if the decision had been rushed.

Cottingham and Hutchings voted against the recommendation, while Mary Harrington voted for approval. Board member Bill Robison did not attend the meeting and outgoing member Jim Klinefelter left before the vote.

The board announced the appointment of Teresia Hall as the new principal of Randolph Park Elementary School. Hall, who currently works in the enrichment program with the school system, was one of five candidates the board considered for the job.

“I’ve always had the desire to be an institutional leader,” Hall said after the meeting. “I want to empower more than just the gifted students I work with.”

Hall’s tenure begins next week.

Thursday’s meeting was the final for Cottingham and Harrington, who were both given plaques and thanked by the board for their service. It was also the final meeting for Klinefelter, who left early to attend another meeting.

In other business, the board:

• Approved a request from the Anniston Museum of Natural History to screen the documentary “Mine Eyes Have Seen: Anniston’s Place in Civil Rights History” at the Anniston High School auditorium in December.

• Approved field trips for the Future Business Leaders of America at Anniston High School to a convention in Denver on Nov. 7, the Anniston High School boys’ basketball team to Montgomery for a tournament in December, Anniston Middle School to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta in May, and the Anniston Middle School to Disney World after the school year.

Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.
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