DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) - Dothan City Schools hosted its last community discussion session Thursday night regarding school consolidations. The board will now work on deciding which model they believe will best fit the future of the system.
Just about every seat was filled inside Beverlye Magnet’s auditorium with principals, school staff, parents, and students. During the session, only Superintendent Dr. Edwards answered about a dozen of the pre-submitted questions. She addressed concerns about transparency, noting that many questions that are being asked by the district are not being avoided, they have either been answered previously and posted on the district’s website or they are questions that can’t be answered until the school board votes.
The school board has narrowed down their two top consolidation options to Option 3 and Option 5.
Option 3 is the more traditional school model - with eight elementary schools (Slingluff, Hidden Lakes, Selma Street, Highlands, Kelly Springs, Montana, Girard E, Carver), two middle schools (Beverlye, Girard M), and two high schools (Dothan, Northview).
Option 5 is Superintendent Edwards' favorite. It has K- 6th at the elementary level (Selma, Beveryle + Hidden Lakes, Carver, Girard E + Girard M, Kelly Springs, Sligluff, Highlands, Heard). 7th, 8th, and 9th at Dothan High School and Northview would be 11th and 12th.
Dr. Edwards says the district had been working on zoning and transportation routes with the proposals.
She also addressed concerns from magnet parents who say consolidations would close the top performing schools in the district and state and if students would be challenged if they weren’t in a magnet school.
“I want to be able to provide all the students with the opportunity to grow and be challenged. I just don’t believe that’s happening now at everywhere for every student. Resources are going to make a difference. The model that I put forth is one that I believe and wouldn’t put it forth if I thought it was not going to make a hug difference in this school district,” said Edwards.
Dr. Edwards says she hopes that consolidations will help create resources so that more schools in the system can get things like reading coaches, language teachers, and have some type of specialized programs like STEM or Art Programs.
The questions not answered during the meeting will be answered and posted on the Dothan City Schools website.
The board is expected to make their final decision during the work session Nov. 26. Principals should find out in December where they will be placed and teachers should find out in February.