Shannon Ottinger showed board members a handout with photos illustrating the Smyrna-area school’s overcrowding problems, including pictures of staff working out of closets, the lack of available space in the kitchen that causes problems in food prepping and the media center that serves as Teasley’s library, conference room and computer lab.
“It’s gotta be hard to get out to the schools and physically see the problems we’re describing so we wanted to provide you with some pictures, because a picture is worth a thousand words,” she said.
Ottinger also spoke to what the overcrowding has done to test scores and morale in the school.
“Since 2007, Teasley has dropped from 134th in the state as an elementary school to 369th,” she said. “Our math scores have plummeted from 92 to 86 at the same time that our enrollment has gone from 500 to 700.”
According to the district, the school’s capacity is 456 students, but there are about 730 enrolled right now.
“This fall marks our 50th anniversary, and we’re here as a parent group to ask for your help in using that occasion to stop this downward spiral in academic performance and to help us start to turn things around and start to restore Teasley to its former glory,” Ottinger said.
William Wong, a parent and volunteer with the school, recommended that the board consider redistricting to alleviate overcrowding issues.
“We understand that there is no easy solution for Teasley and any outcome will distract the school,” he said. “There will be growing pains to whatever solution is found but we want to work collaboratively to find what’s best for the students, teachers and administration.”
Teasley was among 25-plus elementary schools in 2012 that were part of a south Cobb redistricting plan to relieve overcrowding at many schools and prepare the area for the openings of Clarkdale and the new Smyrna elementary schools.
While redistricting hasn’t been placed on the table for consideration, with the passage of SPLOST IV in March, Teasley should get 10 extra classrooms built for about $1.7 million, in addition to the relocation of some playground equipment, utilities and paving, and upgrades in site conditions.
The total proposed cost is $3.1 million.
“We are very excited about the recent passage of SPLOST (IV) and also very interested with how that will work out with some of the problems we have at Teasley,” said PTA President Angela Blackwell.
Cobb Deputy Superintendent of Operations Chris Ragsdale answered a portion of Blackwell’s request during his presentation of how the $717.8 million SPLOST IV projects will be funded from 2013 to 2019. According to the report, Teasley will receive $155,128 in 2013 for site work or architectural expenses.
“Advanced funding is a common practice,” Ragsdale said. “We are working with legal now to identify a funding source.”
Collections for SPLOST IV projects won’t start being collected until Jan. 1, 2014. Then, between 2014 and 2015, the remainder of funding for the school will be collected and bids and construction could begin during that time.
The remainder of Ragsdale’s list included when the $39.9 million-renovation of Walton High School in east Cobb will begin, as well as Wheeler High School’s gymnasium and theater additions valued at about $19.2 million, in 2013.
He has scheduled $1.9 million in advanced funding for Walton and $958,800 for Wheeler.
These three schools are the only ones that will receive advanced funding.
Collections for other high-cost projects, including the replacement of East Cobb Middle School, the two replacement elementary schools that haven’t been identified and renovations at North Cobb and Pope high schools, is set to begin around 2015.
Funding for a majority of the other major construction projects will start in 2016 through 2018.
According to Ragsdale’s chart, the district anticipates using the annual collections as follows: $107.9 million in 2014; $134.2 million in 2015; $145.4 million in 2016; $154.2 million in 2017; $149.2 million in 2018; and $27 million in 2019.