Mayor discusses feasibility study

Published 7:46 am Wednesday, July 20, 2011

At Monday's Lions Club meeting Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon discussed a study that will explore the feasibility of a city schools system. (Advocate Staff/Andy Brown)

How good is your school system? That’s the question Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon says he is most frequently asked when talking with businesses and industries looking to potentially locate in Butler County.

“I’m not saying our system is awful. I have a son who teaches in it, so I certainly hope it’s not. But I do know it’s not where it needs to be,” said McLendon, during remarks made at the Greenville Lions Club on Monday.

That’s why the Mayor says he is excited over the upcoming feasibility study concerning the development of a city school system in the Camellia City. The study was approved at the July 11 meeting of the Greenville City Council.

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He does stress it is “only a study” to determine the viability of such a plan.

“I have many of the same questions and concerns that you do, I am sure. And, yes, the study is going to cost more than $40,000,” McLendon said. “But if this will significantly help with our economic development here and help the children of our community, I believe it will be money well spent. I believe most any of us would do anything we could to help our children, and this may be a way we can.”

McLendon said the Fort Dale Academy Board had already voted to be part of the study, and Lurleen B. Wallace Community College would also be asked to participate.

“I am not saying that college is for everyone. I don’t have a day of college. But all our young people need to be able to get a job and support themselves after high school, after technical and vocational training,” McLendon said. “We have our local Tier 1 Hyundai suppliers looking for people with specific skills and we don’t always have the people in place who have those. What it comes down to is this: if you want your city to grow, if you want a better quality of life, then you have to have a good educational system.”

When questioned about the effect having a city school system would have on the curriculum, McLendon said, if the plan was adopted, a foundation would be set up to which area corporations such as Hwashin and Hysco would give money.

“This would further determine the curriculum in terms of including coursework needed by the workforce of those companies. This would better prepare our students for the world of work,” said McLendon.

The Mayor also said students living outside of the city limits would have access to Greenville schools if a city system was established.

The study, which will cost $43,500, will be conducted by Birmingham-based Construction Program Management in conjunction with Jolly Educational Consulting and should take an estimated 90-120 days to complete.