Over 100 People Turn Out For Meeting About Future Of Millboro Elementary School
Millboro, VA – On Wednesday night, more than a hundred concerned parents and community members packed the Millboro firehouse to discuss a recent school board vote to move pre-school and kindergarten classes from Millboro Elementary to Valley Elementary. Rhonda Grimm of Millboro is the president of the Millboro Elementary Citizens for Education and she organized the meeting.
“We want the School Board members that voted to send our preschool and kindergarten to Valley [Elementary] to reconsider” says Grimm “and to know the consequences of it and rethink it, and know that we are upset about it.”
Speakers at the meeting expressed concern that this is the first step toward closing Millboro Elementary. There was also concern about the long bus ride for preschoolers and kindergarteners, which for some could be two extra hours a day. There was also discussion about the impact the decision will have on the Millboro economy.
Speakers said that families have moved to Millboro so their children could attend the school. And it was noted that if Millboro closes and parents move or send their children to surrounding counties, that reduction in enrollment will reduce state funding for the Bath school system as a whole. Another speaker said the issue was not about Valley versus Millboro, it’s about what’s best for the kids. And another speaker said the decision affects Valley Elementary school also, in terms of larger class sizes.
One speaker suggested forming committees to do research on the effects the decision will have on the economy, students and families and present that information at the next school board meeting. Bath County Supervisor for the Millboro District Carol Hardbarger expressed concern that those who voted didn’t do research to see what impact it would have on families. Hardbarger also urged those in attendance to get facts together and present them at the next school board meeting which is Tuesday June 7.
“Right now as we’re speaking, there are people putting the Committees together” says Grimm. “So yes, there’s already committiees getting put together and they’re going to do research for that committee so they can bring it up at the meeting for the 7th.”
Speakers asked why there was no discussion ahead of time before the vote was taken on moving kindergarten. There was also a question about the vote itself; was it on the agenda and was it a legal vote? The decision was made at a school board budget work session on May 19. School board members Eddie Ryder, Barbara Waldeck and Mary Lynn Riner voted.
School board members Dreama Burns and Joyce Hevener weren’t at the work session. In answer to a question Wednesday night, Joyce Hevener said one of the board members that voted on the move, must be the one to make a motion to rescind. On Wednesday night Supervisor Carol Hardbarger stressed that School Superintendent Sue Hirsh didn’t endorse the action the school board took.
At Wednesday night’s meeting in Millboro, School Superintendent Sue Hirsch and School Board members Joyce Hevener and Dreama Burns were present along with Board of Supervisors members Carol Hardbarger, Stuart Hall and Richard Byrd.