top of page
  • Writer's pictureNettie Webb

Manipulating the Reasoning for School Closures

Updated: Mar 25

For December 2nd, we are going to continue our critiques on the process and manner the school board and administrators went about voting to close Sandusky and T. C. Miller.

As we mentioned in ‘The Utilization Myth’, there are three main factors motivating school closures: a looming 7.2 million dollar deficit, future capital improvement costs, and the belief that we are underutilized.

Today we are going to discuss how if the real goal is to address these concerns, none of the decisions administrators or school board members made actually attain that goal, and that this entire situation is filled with dishonesty and manipulation.

Administrators are presenting school closures as a means to be “fiscally responsible”. If they are trying to be fiscally responsible there are many other things they can do rather than close schools. In fact, closing schools does not actually save much money because 70% of the expenses related to schools are instructional costs (i.e. teachers’ salaries and benefits). If you do not fire teachers, as Lynchburg City Schools has guaranteed, you get minimal savings.

The reality is, all of these closures are not to just be fiscally responsible, it is part of an orchestrated plan from administrators in the city.

How do we know this?

Well, Superintendent Edwards made this clear after the school board’s finance committee proposed closing Dearington and T. C. Miller Schools of Innovation, at this point she told teachers at T. C. Miller that this was expected because the school board hired her to “close schools”.

In fact, this is not the first time Edwards has proposed closing schools. During her first year, she proposed closing Sheffield and Perrymont Elementary Schools. Students from these schools would be zoned for the proposed new and larger Sandusky Elementary School.

Everything from the Dominion 7 analysis to the directives they gave MGT were to uphold this. Instead of investing in the schools, requesting funds through a concrete plan from the city council, and completing the capital improvements, they are using the facilities study to justify their agenda.

If the goal of the district is to be "fiscally responsible", why didn't they ask MGT to present scenarios that saved the district the most money? When presenting at a school board meeting after the original proposal to close T. C. Miller and Dearington, a representative from MGT states "he had no idea about the deficit until the school board proposal," and that their scenarios were not intended for cost savings.

The proposed closures aim to address future capital improvement costs projected at $110 million to $180 million over the next ten years. Focusing on Scenario 3, the chosen option, it's projected to save only $4,498,196 by 2030. This amount falls significantly short of covering the $7.2 million deficit faced this year.

It is apparent that the city is using buzzwords like "fiscally responsible" to garner support from community members critical of the administration's spending habits to promote the closures. All of this is part of an agenda and is not what's best for the students.

Administrators are not trying to be fiscally responsible, they are trying to justify unnecessary school closures. We will not stand for this. Join us this month as we continue to discuss our movement, our concerns, and our efforts.

50 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page