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School board motions for school consolidations pass by 3-2 margin

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By Cheri Harris

There was standing room only at the Gadsden County School Board’s special meeting on Tuesday as board members voted on Superintendent Roger Milton’s reconfiguration plan.
The first recommendation from the superintendent was to begin the process of applying for a legislative special facilities appropriation to construct a new K-8 school to replace Stewart Street and Gadsden Elementary Magnet School.
Board members debated on whether or not they should apply to build a new school between Gretna and St. John.  However, when it was time to vote, school board members Audrey Lewis, Ronald Scott and Tyrone Lewis voted in favor of the recommendation, while Isaac Simmons and Charlie Frost voted against the motion.  
Milton’s second recommendation was to transfer grades four and five from George Munroe and St. John elementary schools to James A. Shanks Middle School.  He also suggested transferring grades pre-kindergarten through third-grade students from St. John Elementary to George W. Munroe Elementary School and discontinuing operations at St. John Elementary School.  He suggested making Shanks a middle school with grades four through eight.
Again, Lewis, Scott and Smith voted in favor of the superintendent’s recommendation, while Simmons and Frost voted against it.
The vote was the same for the superintendent’s final recommendation as well.
When school begins in August, students will be transferred from grades nine through 12 from West Gadsden High School to the current East Gadsden High School. East Gadsden will be renamed, most likely Gadsden County High School.
Look for more on this issue in next week’s Times.