January 31, 2023

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Fayette board votes to close Gauley Bridge Elementary School | State & Region

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The Fayette County Board of Education voted 5- on Thursday to close Gauley Bridge Elementary College at the stop of the existing faculty calendar year.

Closure hearings ended up held earlier in the week at each influenced schools — Gauley Bridge Elementary and Valley PK-8. There had been two speakers from the public at the GBES hearing on Tuesday and none at the Valley PK-8 hearing the future night.

The closure now ought to go right before the West Virginia Board of Education in December, said Fayette County Educational facilities Superintendent Gary Hough.

Previously this calendar year, the regional board approved closure documents which outlined shuttering the Gauley Bridge building and consolidating the college with Valley PK-8 in Smithers at the get started of the 2022-23 faculty phrase.

The main causes cited for recommending the closure have been declining enrollment and price of repairs needed at the Gauley Bridge structure, which was developed in 1976.

Universities in the county saw a 17.1 per cent decline in enrollment from 2010-11 to 2020-21. In that cycle, Gauley Bridge enrollment peaked at 207 in 2014-15 and 2015-16. Second-thirty day period GBES enrollment in October 2020 tumbled to 77, and the enrollment when the closure document was prepared had fallen to 52. It dropped to 48 when formal 2nd-month figures were unveiled very last thirty day period.

Appraisals of both the Gauley Bridge and Valley structures in 2019 in depth HVAC difficulties, amid other issues. Numerous updates have been built at Valley since then. Renovation costs to bring GBES up to code would be $1,422,896, the document pointed out.

Downsizing will let the college procedure to “continue excellent academic packages for the college students of Fayette County and to continue to be in compliance with point out and federal laws and laws,” the document’s reasons and supporting info phase browse in element.

Hough, a previous principal at GBES, mentioned the university was an “enjoyable faculty” at which to work and that he “liked operating with the local community.” Around the decades, he reported, “The academics and the staff members have worked really difficult.”

That mentioned, enrollment figures “had these kinds of a decline” that “sustainability was a little something we could not continue there.”

Board member Steve Slockett, the Valley District representative, praised Gauley Bridge faculty teachers, workers and administrators for “giving a caring educational ecosystem for the learners.” The details in the closure document “remaining us no preference” but to vote as they did, he reported.

Starting off subsequent fall, Valley PK-8 will be the lone public college remaining in the Valley District of the county.

In a connected note, the Fayette board voted in Could 2021 to close each Divide and Ansted elementary faculties. Those students and staffs are anticipated to occur together in the proposed Midland Trail Elementary School, a PK-5 college eyed further down the line on the campus of Midland Trail High in Hico. A FCS delegation appeared right before the point out Faculty Developing Authority on Nov. 2 to request $9.4 million in SBA funding to go toward developing the new elementary faculty. Monies from a FCS money advancement fund totaling $6 million will be added to the combine if the SBA at some point approves that request.

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