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As parents fight to keep two primary schools open, emotions are rising



Lynchburg, Virginia – The Lynchburg community testified before the city council to ask them to reevaluate the budget, continuing the battle to prevent the closure of two primary schools.

“We send our children to public schools. Our city council should be advocating for our public schools. We want excellent schools; give them the money that they need,” said one parent.

The community was not giving up on trying to rescue Sandusky and T.C. Miller Elementary Schools, therefore emotions were running high.

“Nearly seven months ago the decision was made to close Sandusky Elementary and TC Miller; that decision was made by the school board. And today, the school board still has no plan for our students,” said another parent.

Leaders of the Lynchburg City Schools decided in October to close Sandusky Elementary School and convert or close T.C. Miller Elementary School respectively in 2025.

“Last Tuesday, I observed that our neighboring cities of Roanoke and Harrisonburg spent more than 30% of their city budget on their schools last year, while Lynchburg spent only about 17% of its budget on Lynchburg city schools,” said a community member.

Parents said that the underfunding of public schools is the root of the problem. The budget was $42 million the previous year. The budget is set at $39 million for 2025.

“Even though the city revenue has increased by 16%, you’re giving $3 million less than five years ago.” said a Sandusky Elementary PTO.

Parents are begging the city to add $3.2 million to it.

“With the closure of Sandusky Elementary, students will be pushed to Parramatta, Sheffield, and Heritage,” said one parent. “Those two schools are already near capacity. And even if we maxed out every classroom, each of those school’s 240 students would be left without anywhere to go.”

The ripple effect of the nine nearby schools worries parents and teachers as well.

“Our local school funding now lags back at 2015 rates, and the 2025 budget requires the elimination of 103 actual LCS positions, as well as closing schools,” said a parent.

To enhance capacity if the schools collapse, the board approved Bass Elementary’s expansion in October.

“I believe there has to be a way to keep a wonderful place like Sandusky open for many more kids to enjoy,” explained a parent.

Following the public hearing, there were no remarks from the City Council. Plans for division-wide rezoning are being discussed by the city and Bass Addition.


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