Anniston school board closes two elementary schools in heated vote

ANNISTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Tempers flared in Anniston Thursday night. The Anniston City Schools Board of Education voted to consolidate elementary schools — closing two of them.

Several board members tried to have their questions about consolidation answered,  only to start arguments.

At times, board members yelled at each other. Parents and staff packed the meeting and watched as board members name called and argued. Ultimately, the board voted 3 – 2 to approve the consolidation of two elementary schools.

Atudents at Cobb and Constantine Elementary will be moved to Randolph Park and Golden Springs Elementary. It’s a plan that some board members still have questions over.

“What’s on the agenda is all the information that we received for the vote tonight,” said board member Mary Klinefelter.

“I requested that information on Tuesday [and] could not get it. I requested it again Wednesday and could not get it.”

Superintendent of Anniston City Schools, Darren Douthitt, repeatedly said the information about the consolidation was presented in previous workshops. After the meeting, I asked why it wasn’t available before the vote.

“That’s a good question. Again, we’ve been working on this for 12 to 14 months and I think you heard someone allude to the idea that the information was on the tip of my brain or it should be,” said Douthitt.

“It’s no different for any others that participated in the process everything about the planning is on the tip of my tongue and at the fore front of my brain,” Douthitt continued.

When I asked him if there was a time table on when the schools would be consolidated, he didn’t have a definite answer.

Had the information about the consolidation been available at the meeting, it might have changed the vote. Klinefelter told me her “no” vote would have been a “yes” vote, “it would have if the numbers looked okay.”

For now, the decision to close those schools and move those students elsewhere has been made, but the details are still unclear. We’ll work on getting that information from school officials.

Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News

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