Savannah-Chatham school board members discuss what schools may need to close

Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:42 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham school board members are looking into what schools may need to shut down.

During their two-day meeting, they heard presentations from staff about what facilities need to be renovated, rebuilt, or closed all together.

As the Savannah-Chatham school board met to prepare for their budget making process this year and look ahead to years to come, staff is recommending Shuman Elementary School be closed because of how old the building is and the lack of kids actually going there.

Nothing is set in stone and it’s not guaranteed it will actually close.

Officials say this decision has nothing to do with a fire that happened in a classroom at Shuman Elementary more than two weeks ago.

Largo-Tibet Elementary was also recommended to close and be repurposed. These recommendations are made by data that shows Shuman is not being used to its full capacity with a 47% utilization rate and Largo-Tibet at a 50% rate.

“Those are recommendations. So, the board has to discuss that, think thoughtfully about what does that mean and is that the right way forward. The staff and the data that they’re looking at right now, that’s a clear recommendation as a way forward for our long-term planning but ultimately the board will have to make a public vote on each one of these scenarios,” said Kurt Hetager, administrative services officer with SCCPSS.

The also had lots of discussion about how they’ll budget for facilities needing improvements, like new roofing, HVAC systems and entirely new schools. Right now, they have $450 million in improvements to achieve what they hope to get done over the years.

As far as those schools recommended to close, the school board would have to make a vote and then the process for closing a school typically takes a year with lots of talking to parents, staff, and stakeholders in between.