At a regular board meeting, Cobb County School District staff detailed six possible options -- including three proposed consolidations -- for elementary replacement schools. The suggestions are:
- Argyle Elementary (Smyrna-Vinings)
- Belmont Hills/LaBelle (Smyrna)
- Brumby (East Cobb)
- Clay/Harmony Leland/Riverside Intermediate/Riverside Primary (Mableton-South Cobb)
- Mountain View (East Cobb/Northeast Cobb)
- Powers Ferry/Eastvalley (East Cobb)
In each case, the new school construction project would require the affected schools to relocate. The South Cobb proposal, if adopted, would also require redistricting and for the two Riverside schools to merge into a K-5 unit.
"This is a list of options, not recommendations," said Chris Ragsdale, the Cobb deputy superintendent for operations, adding that they were based on proposals from school communities, staff and school board members.
The predicament for the school board is that it can select only two replacement projects -- possibly as early as December -- with funds from the forthcoming Cobb Education SPLOST IV collection.
Before the presentation, parents and students from three school communities in particular -- Brumby, Harmony Leland and Mountain View -- pressed the board again to replace their aging buildings.
"The air in our school is seriously gross," Mountain View student Jordan Tisdale said in a public comment session in a packed the board meeting room.
The Mountain View community has been urging a rebuild to replace a 1960s building they say contains mold and bad air, leaks heavily during rain and is a traffic and safety nightmare on busy Sandy Plains Road.
The same goes for parents and students at Brumby Elementary, locked in a commercial corridor on Powers Ferry Road. With 17 trailers, it's also the most overcrowded of the possible replacement options and has more than 1,000 students.
The oldest school on the list, 62-year-old Harmony Leland in Mableton, also has drawn passionate lobbying from parents and community leaders. Rebuilding it, they say, will have a positive impact on education, property values and civic pride.
"It's not just parents who have shown up," said Harmony Leland parent Broderick Santiago, also a minister in the area. "It's our entire community. There's a pride in Mableton, a pride in South Cobb."
But parents in another school community on the option list begged the board to scratch them from that list.
Parents at Eastvalley are fighting a proposal by board member David Banks to merge it with Powers Ferry, and they also turned out heavily on Thursday night.
"Mountain View is asking for a new school; Brumby is asking for a new school," Eastvalley parent Lynn Clark said. "Eastvalley doesn't want one.
"Please leave us alone."