Dothan City School Board Moving Forward with Consolidation

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Dothan City School officials "are" moving forward with a strategic plan for excellence.

The plan includes a move to have just one high school in the circle city.

Despite some controversy surrounding the possible plan to consolidate Dothan and Northview high schools, the city's school board has decided to take the next step.

Dothan City Schools Superintendent, Dr. Sam Nichols says, "It doesn't mean we're going to consolidate, it means we're going to move forward with planning to do that."

Before any final decision is made, the board must first determine if it will be able to get the funding to pay the two to three million dollar cost of consolidation.

Merging the schools would mean having close to 2,500 students on two different campuses, one for ninth graders the other for grades 10 through 12.

School board member, Gayla White says, "I think it is important to determine how many more facilities we will need at the other campus. It will also be important to determine the academies and whether we have the facilities there and the funding to put them. And whether it's more effective to put them at the two high schools."

Other issues the board must consider include the redistribution of resources and materials, staffing and the development of new curriculums.

"Parents and students were asking the details about how we are going to do this, and we really didn't have the details. That's what we're going to do now," said school board chairman, Dr. Steve Stokes.

School officials are giving themselves six months to secure funding for the plan...

At that time, the board will make its final decision on whether consolidation is in fact what is best for the future of Dothan city schools.

Originally, consolidation was going to be done in time for the 2007-2008 school year.

But school board members have pushed the date back one year to allow themselves enough time to explore all the available options.

School board members want to stress that the plan may still change as it begins to unfold.