The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

November 16, 2013

Our Readers Speak — Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013

Elementary schools should not be cut

My name is Christina Bryant. I am a concerned parent from Gatewood Elementary. I attended the Nov. 4 Fayette County BOE meeting where it was proposed that Gatewood be closed.

We were also notified that the closing hearing would be in December, giving Gatewood a one-month notice. I am not saying that it will close in December, but it is to be closed at the end of this school year.

I am very concerned with this for several reasons. First, I do not in any way feel that it is necessary to close any elementary school, because elementary is the foundation of a student’s basic learning.

Second, the state BOE wants to change the grades for high school students so that it will become 6-12 grades. In the CEFP, it was planned for Gatewood and FES to consolidate into a new building. This is not the state BOE’s plans as of now. They are intending for our children to move into FES, a building that has plenty of structure, water and heating problems. Just a few of the FES repairs were brought up at the Nov. 7 meeting at Meadow Bridge High School by Keith Butcher.

I attended that meeting, along with a few other Gatewood parents, and asked Mr. Butcher two questions — “Is Gatewood Elementary going to receive a year study to see how this will affect the children, the same as Meadow Bridge has? If not, why is Gatewood being discriminated against, and not receiving the same opportunities?”

Neither of my questions were answered by Butcher. I was told three times that he could not answer that question. He simply stated that the closing hearing was set for December.

I am not against consolidation. I understand budget cuts and needing better buildings. What I do not understand is why would you move over 100 kids into a building that needs so many repairs when the building that they are in is just fine. I also feel that if they keep cramming our little ones into bigger and bigger classes, the ones that are behind will always be left behind.

These elementary students are this community’s future, and if we intend on having a community, we need to better educate these young minds. I think there are better ways to cut budgets than to close the elementary schools.

Christina Bryant


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