Bulloch County Board of Education Chairman David Ball told a group of Performance Learning Center students Thursday that they would change their minds about wanting to keep the PLC open once they took a bus tour that showed them where they would be attending classes in their home schools.
A large group of students were present during Thursday's BOE meeting to show support for keeping the PLC open. The alternative school, located in a wing at the William James Educational Complex, which also houses the BOE Central Office, offer students a different way of learning by allowing them to work at their own paces, and having more one-on-one contact with teachers and a smaller class size.
The group presented BOE members with copies of a petition signed by many in support of keeping the PLC open. School officials plan to close the school and allow PLC students to attend similar classes, following the same model as those at PLC, but in classrooms at their home schools.
Student William Duck spoke to the board with a plea that the decision be reconsidered.
Many students moved to the PLC because they were having trouble in the environments offered at their old schools, he said. “Some students have trouble with large groups of people and learn better in a smaller environment," he said. Since attending PLC, "I have excelled in my class work and caught up in several areas."
Duck said he fears students may drop out if forced back into the traditional school environment, thus defying the reason the PLC was created in the first place.
School board officials said the move is one of many ways the school system is eliminating costs during a time of economic distress and budget cuts.
After Duck spoke, Ball told him of an upcoming "bus tour" where PLC students will be taken to their home schools and see where their classes will be held. After the bus tour "I believe you will change your mind," he said.
Bulloch County Superintendent Dr. Lewis Holloway said plans are to recreate a similar environment within home schools that reflects that the current PLC offers, with a few improvements. Students will not interact with other students in the school through changing classes, he said.
Holloway said moving PLC students to their home schools would save the school system $186,000.