CHEROKEE CO., S.C. (WSPA) – There are two big topics a lot of parents in Cherokee County have been talking about: the potential for year-round school and the possibility of two elementary schools being brought together as one.
A meeting was held at one of those elementary schools Tuesday night and 7 News was there.
We spoke with the superintendent about these ideas and learned what parents have to say about the possible change.
“It’s family. It’s exactly what I wanted for my children,” Jessica Whitlock said.
Jessica Whitlock grew up in Gaffney and went to Alma Elementary School. Four of her five children either attended or are still attending Alma Elementary now. She told 7 News Alma feels like a second home for her family.
“It’s not just dropping your kid off and hoping they learn the alphabet. It’s so much more,” she said.
When Whitlock heard rumors that Alma may soon be brought together with nearby Mary Bramlett Elementary, she was concerned.
“We’re talking such an increase in class size,” Whitlock said. “Will my child get the same attention that she does currently here in her smaller class at Alma?”
And she’s not the only worried parent.
“My nieces and nephews went there,” Miranda Hoffler said about Mary Bramlett Elementary. “I’ve had to be in that car-riding line. It was terrible.”
But Superintendent of Cherokee County Schools, Dr. Dana Fall, said parents won’t have to worry about class sizes or transportation issues if this actually happens.
He told 7 News the district has thought it through and, financially, this would be the best option for the district and its students.
“Mary Bramlett is the only school with space enough to take Alma,” he said.
Fall calls the idea “re-branding,” not consolidating, because no one will lose their job.
Most teachers and staff members from Alma would go with their students to Mary Bramlett, or they would be placed somewhere else within the district.
“Box up your stuff in the summer, just like you normally do,” Fall said. “We move it over to the new school. ‘This is your new room.'”
Fall told 7 News it would save the district half a million dollars every year.
“It won’t cost a penny, other than buying some boxes,” he said.
Fall believes the re-branding, along with year-round schooling, could reduce stress levels and disciplinary problems, create more opportunities, and boost morale among teachers and students.
“Start these different programs that all the districts around us are already doing,” he said.
But before anything is done, the district wants to hear from parents, and those parents hope their voices are heard.
“Our children’s futures are in their hands,” Whitlock said.
Another public input meeting will be held at Mary Bramlett Elementary on Thursday, Dec. 5th, at 5:00 p.m.