We would like to solve a dilemma facing the Grantville City Council: providing space for general education diplomas can be a city function.
Shelly Smith, who has taught GED classes in several locations in Grantville over the years, has asked for space in the city’s Glanton Complex for classes. The council seems to be in an elaborate dance to find a reason to refuse Smith’s request.
If the excuse is to be whether such classes can be a city function, they can drop that one in the circular file now. Many Georgia cities have educational purposes among their programs.
Council members can drive to Newnan and visit the Carnegie Library with its books, computers and programs – all funded by the city of Newnan.
While most public schools in Georgia, including in Coweta County, are operated by county boards of education, there are 20 Georgia municipalities that have their own school systems. They range from Trion, which is not a lot larger than Grantville, to Atlanta.
If the educational function still makes the council nervous, they can look at the GED program as economic development. Every person who completes the GED classes and exam will be a Grantville resident with better earning power and brighter prospects.
Better paid citizens will make more money to spend, which will float all economic boats in Grantville.
There seems to be concern that other groups might also seek space. “It certainly sets a precedent for any other organization providing education services,” City Manager Al Grieshaber said. “We only have so much space and so much facilities.”
Vetting groups who request space is the wisest option. Requiring groups seeking space to have a program that has been going for two, three or five years would eliminate the person who has an idea but no record of success.
Smith has asked for meeting space with internet accessibility, restrooms, tables, chairs and a sign. The space would need to be available after business hours, as many of the classes are at night. Security shouldn’t be an issue, as the Grantville Police Department is located within the same building.
A retired public school educator who has worked for several years at Central Christian School, Smith is a respected teacher. The Grantville resident has been teaching GED classes for a long time, and if council members don’t already know someone whose life has been changed by those classes, they will.
Smith has asked for space from the city because the commercial storefront where she has been holding classes is for sale.
Smith’s request for space deserves a fair hearing. It shouldn’t be dismissed on a technicality. Grantville’s investment in those classes would pay great dividends in years to come.