Public hearing to discuss the proposed location of CCSD consolidated school

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2022

A public hearing will be held Dec. 14 in Opelika regarding the proposed location of a new consolidated high school combining Valley and LaFayette High School. The meeting will be held at the W. Andrews Federal Building in Opelika and will allow a U.S. district judge to address the concerns of the Valley and LaFayette communities.

“It’s to get a sense of direction or resolution,” said CCSD Assistant Superintendent David Owen.

Judge W. Keith Watkins will be presiding over the hearing. Watkins is holding the hearing in the hope of getting input from those who will be affected by the proposed consolidation, such as teachers, students and their parents. 

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“The most important thing is to let everybody be heard,” Owen said. 

The hearing will begin at 8 a.m. central time. Those who wished to speak to the judge were asked to fill out a form, which was due by noon on Dec. 12. Students or community members who are unable to attend the hearing in person had the option of submitting their comments by email.

Owen said that he hopes the hearing will provide a sense of direction regarding the issue. However, no resolution will come during the hearing itself. After the judge has heard from the community, he will conduct a trial during which he will make a decision on Jan. 12.

Owen said that those wishing to attend should arrive early and remember to leave their cell phones in their cars, which aren’t allowed in the court.

“I’m sure it’ll be crowded,” Owen said. 

On Oct. 27, the Chambers County School District announced in a press release that a Valley location was chosen for the construction of a consolidated high school that would service both Valley and LaFayette high school zones. 

On Dec. 5, the city of LaFayette held a public hearing for the community after receiving a lot of communication about the decision. During the meeting, many people from the LaFayette High School community voiced their concerns about the distance of the chosen location of the consolidated school. 

Lawyers representing the community from the Legal Defense Fund from the NAACP and local attorney Stanley Gray reminded citizens to attend the hearing on Dec. 14 to present their concerns before the judge.