Cherokee Co. push to combine schools could save district 500k a year


CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Cherokee County school leaders say they can save half a million dollars by combining 2 schools.

“If it was to happen, and once again this is an if,” said District Superintendent Dr. Dana Fall.

Fall kicked-off Thursday’s public input meeting by reminding parents consolidating Alma and Mary Bramlett Elementary is just an idea to save money.

“With teacher raises [and] cost of living all that keeps rising,” he said. “Schools can’t raise the cost of an education.”

Dr. Fall says school leaders want to make better use of the budget, but they didn’t want to cut staff to save money. He says combining schools is the next best option.

“You’re talking close to half a million dollars that’s reoccurring,” Fall said.

Fall says if they move forward with “rebranding,” the district would make a one time profit from selling Alma. He says that money, in addition to the reoccurring half a million dollars, would be funneled back into programs for students and maintaining other schools.

“I feel like that’s really important because why wouldn’t you want to take the extra money and put it with the kids to help their education. It’s only going to help them,” said Kelsey Nance, a teacher.

Unlike other schools in Cherokee County, Mary Bramlett Elementary won’t have to undergo modifications. It currently has the capacity to accommodate students and staff from Alma Elementary.

The district has vowed to keep small class sizes, but parents worry about overcrowded classrooms.

“I think that if there will be any problems it’ll be if it overloads the school. If it doesn’t overload the schools and overwhelm the teachers, I think it’ll be okay,” said Kelly Hughey.

“How is it possible to control all of the students? I think they should not do it,” Brandon Napoles Miranda told 7News.

Dr. Fall hasn’t presented the proposal to combine the schools to the school board yet. He says he wanted to get public input first.

If the board approves, Alma students and staff could move to Mary Bramlett Elementary as soon as the next school year.

At the meeting, school leaders also discussed the proposal for year-round school. Dr. Fall says that will also have to be voted on by school board members. The idea is to begin that sometime in 2021 or 2022 if it’s approved.

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