Education

Could a Bibb County school close? Some community members are fighting to save it

L.H. Williams fifth-grade students look over the new dictionaries they received from the Rotary Club of Macon on March 4, 2014.
L.H. Williams fifth-grade students look over the new dictionaries they received from the Rotary Club of Macon on March 4, 2014. jvorhees@macon.com

Rumors are circulating that L.H. Williams Elementary School is closing, but the Bibb County school district says no such decision has been made.

As of Wednesday afternoon, a petition titled “Save L.H. Williams” at change.org had been signed by 601 people, with a goal of 1,000 signatures. A Facebook page and website have also been created for this issue.

The petition claims the district is considering closing the school and Dream Academy state charter school will open in its place. A location for the Dream Academy, scheduled to open in fall 2018, has not yet been announced by its board of directors.

“Let’s take a stand and fight for the kids in our community. Please don’t allow the district to take our history away,” the petition says.

In a blog entry posted on the Bibb district’s website Oct. 11, Superintendent Curtis Jones said he and the Board of Education had not made any decisions to close the school, and the district had not been approached by Dream Academy about purchasing it. Board of Directors members for the Dream Academy could not be reached for comment.

Bibb County has been working on its five-year facilities review, a Georgia Department of Education requirement. Board members will receive an update during their Thursday meeting, but there will be no recommendations at that time, the school district said on Facebook. Members of the “Save L.H. Williams” group planned to attend the meeting and address the board, according to their Facebook page.

“We’ll make the best decisions we can to be efficient and effective,” Jones wrote. “We will continue to work through our process so we can make the best recommendation to the board, so the board can then make an informed decision about how we move forward as a district. That is the truth behind the rumor.”

L.H. Williams had 289 students last year, according to Georgia Department of Education reports. In the spring, board members toured schools with lower enrollment, including L.H. Williams, to see how space was being used, Jones said in his blog post. External facility experts are now looking at all of Bibb’s schools as part of the five-year facilities plan, and that team could later recommend that the district build new schools, close schools or consolidate them.

“Any recommendation would be the beginning of next year at the earliest,” Board President Daryl Morton said. “At this point, it’s just kind of premature to say what we will do. We’re trying to use the system resources as effectively as possible to maximize what we’re providing for students and families.”

  Comments