Northview Open Forum to Consolidate High Schools

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A plan to consolidate Dothan’s two high schools was the hot topic of discussion Thursday night during an open forum held at Northview High School.

Like many of the parents who attended the open forum Tuesday night at Dothan High School.

Some of the parents who attended tonight's forum are also torn about whether consolidation is the right way to go.

Superintendent Dr. Sam Nichols said, "The status quo as it now exists is unacceptable. So we need to move forward with our school system, and provide more opportunities for our kids."

In order to do so, the Dothan city school board has come up with a five year strategic plan for excellence, that will affect all grade levels but part of the plan is to join Dothan’s two existing high schools.

Under the plan, school officials would separate ninth graders from 10th, 11th and 12th graders, to help them academically to a new learning environment and this is getting some mixed reviews.

"I think that it would do the ninth graders good to be alone... I really do..." said Janette Thomas.

"This is the only area that I've ever heard of that they want to separate the ninth graders from the tenth, eleventh and twelfth graders. They will adjust... it's better to make one adjustment than two adjustments," said Paula TruJillo.

Some parents are also concerned about safety and about losing a sense of hometown pride that has been around for decades.

Holland Family said, "There are too many kids in one classroom under what they are proposing... It's also going to make it harder for good kids to stay in an average range."

"I went to Dothan high and I want my daughter to graduate from there... I just enjoy Dothan High," said Monic Clayton.

However the other part of this consolidation plan is to build academies at Northview High to allow upperclassmen to get technical job training and that idea is gaining support.

"The academies of excellence that the school board is proposing will be a wonderful thing for preparing our kids to be contributing members and citizens of Dothan and the wiregrass community," said Mike Williams

The community here in Dothan appears to be divided over this issue.

Although school board officials want to make it clear, that they will take into consideration, every comment and concern that they have heard from parents on both sides of this issue.

School board officials say another forum will be held next Tuesday at Beverly Middle School and they plan on holding several others in the near future.