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Niya Holley, 9,said she loves Barden Elementary. But come fall she could be attending Burghard Elementary, which is less than a mile away.

By closing Barden, the school district could save more than $500,000. Holley's mother says this is a problem.
"I have an old saying if it ain't broke don't fix it," said Charlene Smithers.

Smithers said she has started a petition, plans to protest Friday and will be at a public hearing next week.

"I think that it's a very good school and I don't think that the merger. Ithink it's more about the budget than it is about the kids. So I feel that we need to put the kids in consideration," said Toronda Davis.

Smithers isn't the only one with concerns. One mother wheels her kids to and from school each day.

"I'm worried that it could be some problems. There's a lot of violence and gang activity down in that area. And with me in a wheelchair, walking two small children, it could be pretty serious. Just walking to this one I had someone try to set my hair on fire," said Stacey Edwards.

In addition to these possible changes Jones and King/Danforth Elementary schools could be reconfiguring. That means King/Danforth might house third to fifth graders and Jones could have pre-k to 2nd grade.

King/Danforth already has a reading lab, a newer wing for 4th-5th graders and is already close to Appling Middle School.
Plus the school board said Jones has pre-k playground equipment.

Below is a list of the public hearing dates on these matters.

• Wednesday, June 5, at 6:30 p.m.: Public Hearing on the reconfiguration of Jones Elementary School and King-Danforth Elementary School, to be held at Jones Elementary School, 2350 Alandale Drive, Macon.

• Monday, June 10, at 6:30 p.m.: Public Hearing on the reconfiguration of Jones Elementary School and King-Danforth Elementary School, to be held at King-Danforth Elementary School, 1301 Shurling Drive, Macon.

• Tuesday, June 11, at 6:30 p.m.: Public Hearing on the consolidation of Barden Elementary School and Burghard Elementary School, to be held at Barden Elementary School, 2521 Anderson Drive, Macon.

• Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m.: Public Hearing on the Proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 Budget, to be held in the Board Room at 484 Mulberry Street, Macon.

• Tuesday, June 18, at 6:30 p.m.: Public Hearing on the consolidation of Barden Elementary School and Burghard Elementary School, to be held at Burghard Elementary School, 6020 Bloomfield Road, Macon.

Follow Elise Brown on Twitter@elisedbrown

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