Bibb school board approves closing Teen Parent Center, Renaissance Academy

The Bibb County school board today approved closing the Renaissance Academy and Teen Parent Center programs.

"The evidence shows it's outlived its usefulness," said school board president Lynn Farmer.

Both schools started through grants in 1998 but in 2002 funding ended, said Valeria Cordy, the system's director of special programs.

The Renaissance Academy is a program for students who don't have discipline issues, but may need credit recovery or have jobs and can't attend a regular day school.

The Teen Parent Center serves expected mothers and those with children.

Cordy said at one time the Renaissance Academy served 400 students but this past school year served less than 100.

The Teen Parent Center's student enrollment also dropped from about 100 a few years ago to 48 this past school year, although 380 is the average number of school-aged girls with a baby in Bibb County each year, she said.

As regular schools have had credit recovery, online classes and graduation coaches, Cordy said those once alternative bound students are choosing to attend their home schools.

Pregnant girls are also choosing to attend school closer to home, officials said.

While the average cost to educate a child in Bibb County schools is $7,419 per year, at those two programs it averaged $13,000 per student for teachers salaries, materials and building costs, Cordy said.

The programs — housed off Anthony Road — are slated to close this fall.

School officials also proposed reducing the staff for the fall at both those schools.

Those employees can reapply for jobs within the system, Diana Rodgers, the system's deputy superintendent of teaching and learning, said.

The closure does not come directly as a result of a hard budget season, Farmer said.

"I think it would have happened anyway," she said.

The school board voted Thursday evening to officially end the programs.