Magnolia parents say "Save Our School"

Magnolia Elementary School on Samford Drive in Albany, Georgia. / Jessica Fairley

Dougherty County School Superintendent Dr. Joshua Murfree has scheduled a special called meeting for Thursday to discuss the potential consolidation and repurposing of at least one elementary school.

The board of education is considering closing a school to save money.

Alice Coachman, Martin Luther King Jr., and Magnolia elementary schools are all named as possible facilities to close, but school officials are only looking to close one school.

Many in the community believe Magnolia Elementary is on the chopping block.

"Between Alice Coachman, Martin Luther King Jr., and this one (Magnolia) is the oldest school but is it really about a building, or is it about the students," says Joyce Polite-Davis, the grandmother of a Magnolia Elementary School student.

She says Magnolia Elementary has been an example to other schools in Dougherty County.

"This school has made AYP for the past ten years and I'm not sure if the general public knows what that is but that simply means that this school is operating at the level that the state wants them to operate at," says Joyce Polite-Davis.

In a proposal submitted to the Dougherty County School System, parents listed some of the accomplishments that Magnolia educators have been able to achieve.

"I think about 45 to 50 percent of the students are honor students," says Lee Don, the creator and facilitator of Whiz Kids, a program that helps students better their reading scores.

Mrs. Don says since Magnolia had such success with bringing up children's reading scores, other schools are now using the Whiz Kids program. She says this is an example of the school's leadership in the community.

Parents are hoping board of education members take into account the effect that closing the school will have on the children and the community as a whole.

A "Save Magnolia" rally was planned but cancelled due to scheduling issues.

Parents won't be allowed to speak at the meeting; however they intend to turn out in numbers.

The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon at the Dougherty County Board of Education building on Pine Avenue.

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