Budgets are tight for Henry County Schools, and now students are beginning to outgrow their classrooms. Superintendent, Dennis Coe, thinks he has found a solution by refinancing two bonds.
“We're basically taking those two large bonds and combining them, getting some money up front to do some classroom additions that we need now and to lower our debt service payment,” says Coe.
Although it will extend the payments for a few years, lowering that payment will save the county money.
Coe says, “The extra $40,000 we'll save will help us pay light bills and purchase textbooks that we need now. “
Abbeville High School and Headland Middle School will receive two new classrooms each.
After Abbeville Middle School was closed last year, the high school began housing not only grades 9-12 but 7th and 8th grade as well. Now, they need more space.
“It's just more feasible for us to build one time a couple of classrooms than to maintain an entire separate facility,” Coe says.
Because of the high drop-out rate in Headland, 9th grade students will be moving back to the middle school in August 2011. Six additional classrooms were initially planned, but Coe says with the growth they've experienced it wasn't enough.
“We had to add 2 more to house just what we have right now. So even after the construction is done we'll be at basically capacity.”
Coe says finding the funding was important to keep students out of portable classrooms and in a safe and comfortable environment.
“That's certainly helps the educational experience when you can do that rather than having to place them in a portable unit.”
While construction has not yet begun at Abbeville High School, the new additions at Headland Middle School should be complete within the month.
Coe says he hopes to put the bid out for additional classrooms at Abbeville High School next month, and construction should be complete there by the beginning of next school year.