Bedford County leaders seek additional input before acting on school recommendations

Published: Sep. 27, 2019 at 5:37 PM EDT
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Bedford County school leaders say they want more input before making any decisions about the future of their elementary schools.

There are 13 elementary schools in Bedford County and most need some level of work. Jason Johnson, the vice chair of Bedford County's school board says capital projects and maintenance needs were deferred years ago when the economy was bad.

"Now that the economy has rebounded, we are really interested in addressing some of those projects," said Johnson, who represents district 2 on the school board.

School board members contracted last year with a firm called Downey & Scott, to assess the condition of the division's elementary schools. A few months ago they gave the school board a list of recommendations.

In Johnson's district the firm recommends either renovating or replacing Moneta and Huddleston elementary schools with a consolidated building.

"It seems that Moneta and Huddleston are two of the schools that have the greatest needs right now, so we're really hoping to address all of our elementary needs but especially at our two southside schools," said Johnson.

Before they make any decisions, the school board wants to hear from parents and other stakeholders. In early September they opened an online portal to gather feedback, but few participated. They plan to reopen that site again next week and gather opinions in other ways before taking any action.

"Let us know what you're thinking," said Johnson. "We have multiple options to consider and we want to do what's best, in the best interest of our learners and our communities as well."

School board members hope to reach a consensus on how to proceed with their elementary schools by November. They plan to hold a joint meeting with the Bedford County Board of Supervisors to discuss school needs November 14.