In a four to one vote, the Newton County Board of Education decided to dissolve Clements Theme School and turn Fairview Theme into a kindergarten through fifth-grade theme school.
The original recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Steve Whatley suggested Fairview house grades K-6 but that recommendation was voted down unanimously.
Teachers and parents of Fairview students had spoken out earlier in the meeting, asking that the board not allow their small school to grow too fast.
"We’ve got to utilize the space and resources that we have for Clements,” said board member Cathy Dobbs. “We just cannot have 300 kids in that school when we have other middle schools that are overcrowded.”
Johnny Smith said that it made more sense fiscally to grow by two years and turn Fairview into a K-5 school.
“I think budget-wise, with our money, we have to at least go K-5,” he said. “I know they want to grow slow but right now we need to have 650-675 kids in that school. We had progress there but we just cannot afford to fund a school that small.”
Dobbs concurred, saying she wished Clements had 600 or more students in it, but the enrollment report shows that as of May 5 there were just 338.
“I think we took too many big steps,” said Dobbs. “Hopefully the board in the future will look into it every year.”