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Columbus County School Board approves plan to close several schools

Updated: Feb. 3, 2020 at 6:21 PM EST
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COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - The Columbus County Board of Education voted in favor of a proposal that closes several schools to cut costs on Monday.

District leaders say enrollment has declined over the past seven years. Between state, federal and local funding, Columbus County schools receive about $8,000 a student, but some of the smaller schools cost $9,500 a student to operate.

The following changes were passed under the school consolidation decision:

  • Proposed closing of Acme Delco Middle School and Hallsboro Middle School, effective June 2020, to consolidate into K-6 at Acme Delco Elementary School and Hallsboro-Artesia Elementary School with East Columbus High becoming a Jr.-Sr. High School with Grades 7-12 effective June 2020
  • Proposed closing of Guideway Elementary School to consolidate into K-4 Old Dock Elementary School and 5-8 at Nakina Middle School, effective June 2020
  • The relocation of students and programs for Columbus Career and College Academy from the Fair Bluff campus to the Southeastern Community Campus effective June 2020
  • Proposed closing of Evergreen Elementary School and Cerro Gordo Elementary School (once construction of new K-8 school is completed) anticipated effective date of June 2021
  • Proposed closing of Tabor City Middle School and Tabor City Elementary School (once construction of new K-8 school is completed) anticipated effective date of June 2022

The district hosted three public input sessions over the last month to gather feedback from the community. Parents have expressed particular concern over longer bus rides for students and the stress of switching schools.

On Monday, nearly a dozen people were signed up to speak ahead of the Board of Ed meeting; of the eleven, eight speakers noted in the agenda they planned to address the board on the closing of Guideway Elementary.

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