Students and parents in Lee County, Virginia are learning a tough lesson in mathematics. Because of money problems, three elementary schools could close.
Chrystale Moore's five-year-old daughter, Breanna, is just a few weeks away from her first day of school. "I want her to go to Stickleyville, because it has small classes and I went there when I was in grade school," said Moore.
But now that may not be an option. Stickleyville, Ewing, and Keokee elementary schools could all be closing their doors for good due to a $2.1 million shortfall in the Lee County school budget.
Superintendent Mark Carter told News 5 he doesn't want to see that, but, "we [may] certainly do that as a last resort. It seems unless we come up with an idea that we haven't thought of, that we're about to do that," Carter said.
School board chair Debbie Jessee told us they've already had 45 employees take an early retirement. They've even cut some coaching and extracurricular supplements, but that's still not enough. "If we had the money, we would not even be thinking about this in the first place," said Jessee.
Jessee told News 5 that in utilities costs alone the school board would save around $61,000 if all three schools closed down.
But closure could also means longer bus rides and larger classes, something that's not okay with Chrystale Moore when it comes to her kids' education. "When you get a classroom [with] over 30 kids, this one needs help, that one needs help, and [teachers] can't do it," said Moore.
The final decision will be made Tuesday night at a public meeting. Hundreds of concerned parents and students are expected to attend. "There's people that's going to that meeting, and they [don't] even have kids at that school" said Moore.
All who attend are asked for their input so that these schools might ring their bell once again. "Hopefully there will be some parents or community members that might have some ideas we've not thought of," Carter added.
That meeting will be Tuesday, July 17 at 5 p.m. at the Lee County School Board Office building in Jonesville.
Another interesting fact we learned that's expected to be talked about tomorrow and will likely to bring a lot of debate: there is also talk of possibly cutting Lee County Middle School sports programs.