“Save Our Schools” Parents are concerned with Lynchburg city school boards decision.

Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 6:42 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The Lynchburg City Schools board voted to close an elementary school and to either convert or close another.

Some parents are speaking out about the impacts that may have on their children’s education.

A group of Lynchburg parents started a movement called ‘Save Our Schools’ to voice their concerns about the school board’s recent decision to close Sandusky Elementary and possibly close T.C. Miller Elementary.

Carly Shaeffer has two kids at T.C. Miller Elementary. She says one of the main concerns from parents is the lack of planning within the committee.

“The truth is, it takes a lot of time, effort, resources, and years honestly to build a school culture and expectations and the curriculum we’ve developed. So to just say that we can transfer those I don’t think they’ve planned that out as much as they need to,” says Sheaffer.

Although the schools are small in student population, Sheaffer says T.C. Miller has fewer discipline issues and high attendance records.

She believes closing schools known for innovation is not the solution.

“Schools of innovation are known to attract high-quality teachers. And so by closing one of those, what are you saying to the teachers and families that you value in the community?,” adds Sheaffer.

The school board says its objective is not to eliminate innovative schools but to incorporate them into other school systems.

“That was never our purpose to shut down schools of innovations, all dependent on what the building configuration looks like, they may be in different buildings,” says LCS Superintendent, Dr. Crystal M. Edwards in Friday’s school board meeting.

Colleen Larkins is a parent of two kids attending Sandusky Elementary.

She believes another change for the students will be even more damaging.

“Our children need consistency of education, we’ve already gone through a pandemic, our kids were out of five days a week school for almost 18 months,” says Larkins. “Now we’re going to pick these kids with people they don’t know and a place they don’t know and bigger class sizes after their education was already disrupted.”

Sheaffer states that re-zoning should be determined first, as well as enrollment projections.

“One thing that we’re really frustrated with is that LCSW is saying that they want to reason Closer to home, but they haven’t figured out what that rezoning close to home means,” explains Sheaffer.

Parents say they will be conducting protests and campaigns as well as attending city council meetings until another plan is determined.