Connect with us


Franklin County School Board meets in special session to talk about potential closures



Franklin County, Virginia – On Saturday, the Franklin County School Board conducted a public meeting to explore the possibility of closing basic schools at the elementary level.

Concerns and inquiries are circulating in the community of Franklin County as a result of the proposal made by the School Board to bring about the closure of schools.

Burnt Chimney Elementary and Henry Elementary are the two schools that are being considered for closure at this time. The state is experiencing a funding shortfall of $3.7 million, which is the reason why these closures are being explored. The closure of their children’s schools has caused parents to express their concerns. One of Clinton Gills’s children attends Burnt Chimney Elementary School.

“Never thought I’d have to say ‘son, I don’t know.’ Cause I can’t give my six-year-old son an answer if he is going to go to the same school, with the same kids,” Gills said.

The Burnt Chimney location is home to Dana Rowland’s daughter.

“In this instance, we are forcing our kids, without regard to their well-being, to not only adapt to the new school family, but to possibly lose friends, changes in schedules, and changes in extracurricular activities. As well as experiencing the loss of their adult support group,” Rowland.

It has been reported by members of the school administration that the district is currently short $3.7 million in state funding.

To address this issue, the school board proposed two distinct courses of action: either closing both Burnt Chimney Elementary and Henry Elementary for the 2024-2025 school year or closing Burnt Chimney Elementary for the following school year and Henry Elementary for the 2025-2026 school year. Students attending certain schools would be transferred to other schools within the district if this occurs.

However, a significant number of individuals do not agree with these propositions. Windy Gap and Dudley would be the places that students would go to if Burnt Chimney were to close. Sontag, Ferrum, and Snow Creek would be the schools that students would go if Henry Elementary were to be closed.

In the school district, Sarah Dylan is employed as a teacher. When these children are transferred to other elementary schools, she stated that it can lead to overpopulation in such schools.

“Will we overcrowd Windy Gap and Dudley? And if not now, in a very short time overcrowding could become a problem,” Dylan said.

Concerned about the psychological impact that relocating schools can have on children, Hailey Robertson was a parent who had experienced a burnt chimney.

“Children already struggling, with social or economic factors, this change can be the catalyst to push a student to a disorder. Forcing students to change schools can also sever relationships between children and their friends,” Robertson said.

Concerns were voiced by a few members of the school board over the procedure and the potential for modifications.

“I feel it has been rushed,” Dr. Kevin David said.

In her statement, Carleta Whiting stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused an adequate amount of damage.

“Rushing causes problems. We have enough coming out of COVID. They have a learning loss. We have to get these children back up to reading levels and back on track,” Whiting said.

When they get together for their special meeting on February 28th, the School Board is going to talk about their budget. Following that, they will make their budget presentation to the Board of Supervisors at the beginning of March.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *