By Max Hrenda
Calling it a “very difficult” recommendation, Director of Schools Kevin Ward asked the Carter County Board of Education on Wednesday to consider closing Range Elementary.
“It’s very difficult to recommend the closure of a school,” Ward said. “But we could save between $300,000 to $350,000, and that is a pretty conservative figure.”
If Range were to close its doors, Ward said the student body could incorporate itself into Central Elementary, while not upsetting the teacher-to-student ratio.
“We have room at Central Elementary, and will probably look at three teachers moving over to accommodate those kids,” Ward said. “Years ago, our numbers at Central were much higher than they are now. I know we can absorb them.”
Ward added that there may be some educational benefits to combining the student bodies, as well.
“When those numbers at Central were high, they got a very good, quality education,” Ward said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that they’ll get that again, otherwise I wouldn’t make this type of recommendation.”
Board members expressed mixed reactions to Ward’s recommendation.
Board Member David Buck said that, while he, too, thought the children would receive a good education at Central, he was unhappy that the system may need to lose a school to stay afloat.
“I’m disappointed that this is the only thing we can do to make budget,” Buck said. “It has served a special function in that community. I’m stressed over this.”