DICKENSON COUNTY, Va. - Passionate pleas were expressed a few weeks ago during protests to save Ervinton High School; Wednesday night, parents and students spoke out one last time to try to keep their school open.
"I'm here again tonight to beg you to listen to these students, their families and even myself as we ask you to keep the doors of Ervinton open," said parent Joni McCoy at the meeting.
The Superintendent of Dickenson County, at the request of the school board, proposed a plan to help balance the budget next year and determined that Ervinton needed to be shut down. "Total enrollment loss 2008-2012 is minus 54 students at Ervinton High School, or a 25 percent decline in student population," said Haydee Robinson, Superintendent of Dickenson County.
Enrollment wasn't the only problem. The revenue shortfall and the average cost per student also had a large impact. We learned that Ervinton pays $1,000 to $2,000 more per student a year than Haysi or Clintwood.
"I moved them back here from North Carolina when it was time for them to start school. I promised my kids they would never have to move. Unfortunately you're making that decision for me. I don't think that's right," said concerned parent Virginia Mullins
Many were not satisfied with the decision. "How much can be saved busing students further, costing the school board money in gas and bus maintenance and any number of other items to implement these changes?" asked McCoy.
The board said that they didn't want to close the school, but ultimately a decision had to be made and that decision was to shut down Ervinton High School. We learned that the only other option to closing down Ervinton would be cutting more teaching positions and programs including band and art.
The school board is also consolidating Longs Fork into Clintwood Elementary School in another effort to save money.