COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - Parents, school staff and community members crowded the Columbus County School Board meeting room Monday night to voice concerns about possible school closings.
“We just don’t understand how putting children through the the trauma of moving from one school to another, in addition to an extended bus route, would be beneficial to them,” says Kelly Lovett, a parent and former student of Guideway Elementary. “We are concerned that some of the student would be on a school bus one way, for two hours and by the time they get there, they will be so exhausted that they won’t want to excel and it’s going to be so late when they get home it’s going to cut into family time and time to study.”
Superintendent Deanna Meadows says that they had to propose this plan to alleviate the budget crisis because of the steep decline in enrollment.
“We’ve had declining enrollment within the last seven years at about 100 students a year,” says superintendent Meadows. “We have 17 schools for 5,400 students. That’s a lot of facilities to keep up and so we felt that with the smaller schools we felt as though we could not keep those facilities with such few students. We get in approximately $8,000 per student, per year and we have schools that cost about $9,000 a year per student and those are the ones that are under 200 students.”
While no action has been taken yet, the school board will vote on the proposal at their Feb. 3 meeting. If passed, it will go into effect in August at the start of the new school year.