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McLendon: No plans to create city school system

Published 12:17pm Monday, September 23, 2013

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said on Monday that there is no plan to create a city school system.

“There’s no proposal on the table concerning a city school system,” McLendon said.

City officials did commission a study in late 2011 to determine if a municipal school system would be feasible. In January of 2012, representatives with Birmingham-based Construction Program Management and Jolly Educational Consulting presented the findings of a six-month long study. Those findings showed that a city school system was feasible for Greenville.

Both Anne Jolly, an educational consultant with Jolly Educational Consulting, and Tim Coker, president of CPM, said their research showed that a municipal school system is feasible based on the Greenville schools’ current curriculum, as well as from a financial standpoint.

A city school system would have to be approved by the Greenville City Council. The city would then have to determine funding sources for the system. According to McLendon those sources would not include new taxes.

The city would then negotiate a separation agreement with the Butler County Board of Education, create a Greenville City School Board of Education, and hire a staff for the school system.

The projected income from federal, state and local levels for a Greenville city school system, according to figures provided by the Butler County Board of Education for the 2011-12 fiscal year, would be $18,447,388.

According to CPM’s findings, it would cost $18,572,664 to operate the four schools that would make up a Greenville city school system. That leaves a deficit of $125,276.

The initial start–up fees before the first fiscal year funding would be nearly $5.5 million. The city already has $670,000 in an existing foundation, which would leave approximately $4.8 million needed for the initial outlay.

Shortly after the findings of the study were released, McLendon said that the city did not plan to create its own school system.

The possibility of creating a city school system resurfaced at meeting organized by parents concerned over the direction they feel the county’s public school system is heading.

More than 40 people attended the meeting, which was held at Beeland Park, hoping to have their concerns addressed by members of the Butler County Board of Education.

However, no members of the board attended the meeting.

“We took the opportunity to do the study because we want to be able to do make the best decision for the City of Greenville,” McLendon said. “The study shows that it would work, and that financially it would be pretty easy to do, but we don’t have any plans to create a city school system. It’s something that could be brought up again if there’s a need, but right now we aren’t looking into that.”

The study into the feasibility of a Greenville city school system cost the city $43,500.

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