Teenage Parenting Center will close its doors

By Mackenzie Patterson - bioemail

COLUMBUS, GA (WXTX) - The Muscogee County School Board agreed on a tentative $273 million budget for 2012, but the plan does not include the alternative school for pregnant teenagers and new mothers.

This upset some parents and students who got a little emotional after hearing the school will have to close its doors because the school system can't afford to keep it open.

Ronnae Gill is devastated after hearing her school has to shut down.  She is in 11th grade at the Teenage Parenting Center, a different option from the mainstream classroom giving pregnant teens and new mothers an environment to learn while also providing care for their babies.

"A lot of pregnant teens that are out there usually they either drop out of school because they are pregnant and this school gave other people an opportunity to get their educations and help take care of their child better," said Gill.

Superintendent Susan Andrews said closing TAP and saving the $2.4 million the district has to spend to keep it running every year is a way to help all students in the district.  Andrews said shutting down the alternative school means all students will get 2 more days in the classroom.

"It is a difficult decision, but when we found that we had a 10.7 million dollar reduction from out state funding, we knew business could not go on as usual," said Andrews.

The closing does not just affect students, but people who work at TAP too.  Lakeisha Daniels is a paraprofessional in childcare at TAP.  While she is optimistic that she will be taken care of, her thoughts are mainly with the students.

"My heart goes out to them because I was a teen mother too.  Thankfully, I had family to support me.  Some of them don't, but I know it will all work out for the best," said Daniels.

Gill and her fellow students will be heading to different schools this fall without their babies.

Plans have been presented to help the students transition from tap to mainstream high schools as well as providing education support on the care of their babies.

The school's faculty will be placed in other jobs throughout the district.

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