Grandmother fears for child's safety if programs are combined - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Grandmother fears for child's safety if programs are combined

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

One concern that has caught parents' attention the possibility of combining the district's alternative school with the Woodall program for children with special needs at the Edgewood school building.

"This is their school; if you move them to another school that would be bad for them," said Carol Pilcher. 

Pilcher's 15-year-old grandson Cameron has autism and other medical disabilities. He attends the Woodall program in Muscogee County for children with special needs. 

Pilcher told News Leader 9 that taking the Woodall program and combining it with the district's alternative school program is an accident waiting to happen.

"They have made choices that got them kicked out of school and I don't know if the environment is safe for him to be in," Pilcher said. 

The proposal presented to the board on May 6 will split the Edgewood Campus between Woodall in yellow, the alternative school for students with behavior issues in green and the Sara Spano clothing bank in white. 

We took the concern of housing students with special needs in the same building as students with behavior issues to Melvin Blackwell, Chief of Students services.

"We can keep those facilities those programs separated from each other through scheduling and good leadership from each other," Blackwell said. 

Blackwell also told us that the Edgewood is newer than both of the programs' current homes and says that the facility is secure for all students.

 Pilcher says that she's seen the area where Edgewood is located and is not satisfied.
  
"Some of these kids with neurological issues will sometimes run away from their caregivers and the traffic at that school is just horrendous," Pilcher said. 

This proposal came about when the interim superintendent suggested to close both schools as part of a proposal to save the district about $9 million. 

On Monday the interim superintendent brought up the alternative of furlough days as a possible way to make up the $20 million needed for next year's budget.  

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