Study: City school system feasible

Published 7:34 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

At a Tuesday night meeting, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon and representatives with Birmingham-based Construction Program Management and Jolly Educational Consulting presented the findings of a six-month long study into the feasibility of creating a municipal school system in Greenville. The study showed that it is feasible for the City to create a municipal school system.

There will not be a Greenville City School System. At least not yet.

At a Tuesday night meeting, Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon and representatives with Birmingham-based Construction Program Management and Jolly Educational Consulting presented the findings of a six-month long study into the feasibility of creating a municipal school system in Greenville. The results were favorable.

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.

“We have a feasibility study now,” McLendon said. “We know what it would take to (have a city school system). The question is what do we do next?”

It’s a question that McLendon said he doesn’t yet have the answer to, but that he would seek help in finding that answer by forming a group from “across the county” to discuss the state of education in Butler County and how it can be improved.

“I’ve said from the beginning that I do not want a city school system,” McLendon said. “But I do want what is best for Greenville. This study shows that our school system, especially at the high school level, is pretty good. We’re way ahead of most, but I want us to take it to the top, and to do that, there needs to be some changes. That may or may not mean a city school system.”

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 these 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. While there is no definite timeline for making a decision, McLendon said he would like for the study to be reviewed during the course of this year.

“At this point, we’re still just taking a good look at things and figuring out where we need to go from here,” he said.