CCSD releases results of community survey

Published 2:40 pm Friday, March 25, 2022

The Chambers County School District has released the results of the community survey it had available earlier this year to get opinions on a way to consolidate and better utilize its schools.

Last week, CCSD announced its plans to consolidate several schools, including LaFayette and Valley High, in an attempt to reach unitary status, provide equitable opportunities for all students and to ensure the county was best utilizing its space.

The survey was meant to drive some of those difficult discussions, as it allowed the board and Superintendent Casey Chambley to hear directly from the public. Below are the results of the survey:

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HIGH SCHOOLS

The board has produced a plan for the federal government to review that includes consolidating Valley High and LaFayette High, building a new high school and converting LaFayette High to a pre-K through eighth grade. This appears to be represented by “secondary option A” on the survey.

More people voted against option A than for, though it was close. A total of 113 respondents said they strongly do not support this option and 88 said they do not support for a total of 201 (43.3%). A total of 79 said they support it, and 108 said they strongly support it, for a total of 187 in support (40%).

Another 76 answers were “neutral/no answer,” which was 16.3%.

Interestingly, people who marked their affiliation with LaFayette High or Valley High voted more in support than against by a small margin (136-126).

“Secondary Option B” involved renovating LaFayette High School and closing J.P. Powell Middle and Five Points.  No action would’ve been taken at Valley High or W.F. Burns.

Again, more people strongly did not support (108) and did not support (80) than supported for a total of 41%. A total of 70 supported this plan and 97 strongly supported for a total of 36%. Another 103, or 22% of responses, were “neutral/no answer.”

The final option, secondary option C, involved building a new high school. Then, the high schools would be consolidated when built. LaFayette High would be converted to the LaFayette PK-8 STEAM Academy. J.P. Powell, Five points and Eastside would be closed. W.F. Burns would move to Valley High and W.F. Burns current facility would be closed.

This was the most supported of the three options, as 103 supported it and 97 strongly supported, so 200 total or 47%. A total of 79 strongly did not support it and 73 did not support it, a total of 152 or 36%. Another 75 chose “neutral or no answer.”

ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS

The survey included four options for elementary schools.

“Elementary Option A” was to consolidate Lafayette Lanier and Bob Harding-Shawmut Elementary into Huguley and Fairfax pre-K through fifth grade schools. It also included consolidating Eastside and Five Points to Lafayette PK-8 Steam Academy and the closure of Eastside, Five Points, Bob Harding-Shawmut and Lafayette Lanier. This was the overwhelming favorite among the four options with 233 total voting to support (of that, 134 strongly in support) and 136 against (of that, 69 strongly against). Another 87 voted “neutral/no answer.”

Option A appeared to be the closest to what the presented plan is. The actual proposed plan includes merging J.P. Powell and Five Points to become the Eastside campus. J.P. Powell Middle, Eastside and Five Points will be combined to form the LHS Steam Academy. Also, Shawmut and Lafayette-Lanier will merge to form the Huguley and Fairfax pre-K through fifth.

Option B was not popular and included consolidating BHS to Huguley pre-K-second grade, consolidating Lafayette Lanier to Fairfax third-fifth, consolidating Eastside and Five Points to LaFayette pre-K-eighth grade district-wide STEAM Academy and closing Eastside, Five Points, BHS and Lafayette Lanier.

A total of 196 were against (of those 96 strongly against) compared to only 137 in support (and only 47 of those in strong support.) Another 120 chose “neutral/no answer.”

Option C was to consolidate all Valley elementary schools into a single location, in a new or existing facility. It would’ve had a capacity of 1500 and a school within school concept. That plan would’ve also involved consolidating Eastside and Five Points to the Lafayette pre-K through eighth grade districtwide STEAM Academy. BHS, Fairfax, Huguley, Lafayette Lanier, Eastside and Five Points would’ve been closed.

More said they did not support (194 total, including 107 strongly against) than in support (151, including 83 strongly in support.) Another 106 said “neutral/no answer.”

Option D included consolidating Lafayette Lanier and BHS into Huguley and Fairfax pre-K through fifth schools. It also involved consolidating Five Points into Eastside, links to secondary option to convert LaFayette High to a sixth-twelfth grade school. The Eastside District would’ve been a district-wide Elementary STEAM Academy and Five Points, Lafayette Lanier and BHS would be closed.

Again, more people were against (188, including 96 strongly against) than in support (128, including 65 strongly against). Another 126 — the most popular answer — said “neutral/no answer.”

The entire survey can be viewed by clicking a link on the Chambers County School District Facebook page.