I am a concerned parent and resident of Barrow County, I have resided for the past three years in Bethlehem. My children are 7 and 11 years of age. My youngest is a current student at , my oldest will go to this year. For the most part I have had no complaints about the education they have provided thus far. However, this year has absolutely blown my mind with all the changes.
I was appalled at the decision to , regardless of what other counties are doing, this is a decision that is not in the best interest of our children.
I spoke at that time, around May, with Dr. Wanda Creel. She had no news to provide me that was acceptable. I understand the decision was based on our lack of funds and the current debt … but this “solution” that will reduce the debt by approximately $450,000 per year will effectively put our debt at zero in 22 years.
I can do nothing, again about this decision. I am a working parent, with a full time job. I have no family in this state to help. I have had to employ some assistance with my neighbor to help with the new school hours that have also been put into effect. Now my elementary school child will not get out of school until 3:30 p.m., which means she starts later as well. I have to be at work in Athens at 8 a.m., a full 30 minutes before school even starts. So in order to get her to school, I can no longer take her, as I have in the past, but leave her with my neighbor to ride the bus.
Today I learned that my other child, who will go to 6th grade this year, is not eligible to ride the bus because we live too close to the school. I have spoken, today, with Executive Director Dr. Chris McMichael. He informed me that this information is accurate. I have, once again, been put in a position to decide how my child will get home from school, as there is no after school at this level, and she cannot ride the bus and I will be at work.
The road, Haymon Morris Road, on which my 11 year old child would have to walk home has no side walk and is very busy with traffic. There are no plans to put in a side walk, and no other options presented for this issue. I have a mortgage that I pay every month, and taxes to Barrow County, and my children deserve a better solution. I do not know where else to turn for help.
The only other solution I know of is to have a parent at home that doesn’t work a job outside the house. This probably isn’t a feasible solution for myself or most of the other parents. I have tried to talk with those at the school board, to no avail. I was told I could read about these decisions in the paper or online, that nothing is done in secret. I am on the e-mail list for the school board and have received nothing about any of this.
Further, I am outraged that it was suggested by Dr. McMichael that my child go ahead and walk down a road where there is no sidewalk, this a dangerous and unacceptable idea for a child, any child. What can we parents do??? Thank you for listening, I hope there are enough parents who will state how these changes are affecting them, and we can make a change. And something else, not to be overlooked, these are ELECTED OFFICIALS, and this job can be done by someone else who might care about these issues.
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