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County School District launches survey about future

LAFAYETTE – The Chambers County School District has officially launched a survey concerning the future of the public school system.

Conversation throughout the county has been centered recently on the potential consolidation of LaFayette High School and Valley High School, which the survey does address. Other topics of discussion within the survey include school safety, technology and capital improvements.

“We decided the time had come to look at where we are now and where we need to be in years to come that will give our children the best opportunity to compete and succeed in an ever-changing global market,” said Chambers County School Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge in a news release. “It just makes sense to pool our resources toward a common goal that will eventually improve our local education system, economy and overall quality of life.”

The online survey is live and can be accessed through the Chambers County School District’s website at Chambersk12.org, or via the district’s Facebook page. The district said paper copies are also available at every county school location.

Hodges said it’s crucial every resident voice their opinion when it comes to the school system.

“Our public school students deserve the best education we can possibly provide for them, and change is an essential part of attaining our ultimate goal,” she said.

The survey comes after a video was posted on the school system’s website and social media pages discussing the proposal of a consolidated high school. It will be live until midnight on Nov. 14. Afterward, the data will be collected and presented at two public meetings. These forums will also give the public the opportunity to share their opinions and discuss the results.

The first meeting will be 6:30 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 26, at the Valley Community Center. The second meeting will be at 9 a.m. CT on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Alfa Building in LaFayette.

“This process will give us a clear indication of what we need to do moving forward, Hodges said. “Public support is imperative for us to be successful, and that’s why we encourage total community involvement.”

When starting the survey online, the first page informs the participant about the issue.

“The purpose of this survey is to collect feedback around the concept of combining Valley and Lafayette High Schools in Chambers County,” the survey tells the reader. “If this is to occur, the building would be constructed to accommodate 1,500 students, though this number may change based on the pending enrollment projection results.”

The survey starts with gathering general demographical questions, like age, zip code and school affiliation.

Afterwards the survey jumps straight into asking the participant if they would support consolidation of Valley and LaFayette in a new location. There is a ‘yes,’ ‘no’ or ‘I need more information to decide.” There is also a space to provide a rationale for the choice or what additional information you would need.

Other questions revolve around the location of the new potential school, if Lanett should be considered in the consolidation and what funding methods should be used for the construction of a new school. Participants will also have the opportunity to select their top three factors when considering living in Chambers County and their top five important characteristics regarding the high school experience.

Finally, one of the last questions asked is “What does consolidation mean to you?” There is a list of options a person can choose, but there is an empty box where participants can write in an answer.