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Second hearing is today on closing Jones Elementary
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Public hearing
What: On the possible closing of Jones Elementary School
When: 4 p.m. today
Where: Hall County Schools district office, 711 Green St., Gainesville

The Hall County Schools Board of Education will host its second public hearing today related to the possible closing of Jones Elementary School.

The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the district office at 711 Green St. in Gainesville and will be immediately followed by the board’s regular meeting at 5 p.m.

According to system superintendent Will Schofield, the public hearing will only be for the board to listen — there will not be a question-and-answer session.

Last month, the board announced a proposal to close Jones Elementary School to save money. According to officials, closing the school could save the system about $1 million.

More than 300 — including parents, students, staff and residents in the surrounding Chicopee community — attended the first public hearing on April 13. Many in attendance were opposed to closing the school.

If the school is closed, students are expected to be split between McEver and Chicopee Woods elementary schools.

Jones has an estimated enrollment of 350 students for next school year. Comparatively, McEver’s estimated enrollment is 485 students and Chicopee’s estimated enrollment is 765 students. Opponents to the closure have said that sending students to larger schools would be a mistake.

According to some teachers and parents, it is the smaller class sizes at Jones that has allowed teachers to give students more individual attention and thus help them thrive academically.

Residents in the surrounding community fear that closing the school would cause their property values to fall and would also negatively affect the neighborhood’s character.

The board expects to make a final decision about the possible closure by its next work session, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 10.

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