GAFFNEY, SC (WSPA) – Upstate parents are worried about plans to close a middle school.
The Cherokee County School District held the first of 3 public forums Tuesday about Granard Middle School.
Parents brought concerns about how fast this is happening, class sizes, school choice, and even transportation.
“This is like my second year here,” said Grandard Middle School student Savanna Scruggs. “I’ve grown closer to teachers, the students.”
The atmosphere she says is on the chopping block as the Cherokee County School District works to close the campus.
The district says closing Granard Middle would mean sending its students to Gaffney and Ewing Middle schools.
“April the 8th, which was a week and a day ago, that we were going to present to the board what’s called a scope of study of the facility,” he said. “We presented just as we did and the board determined at that point. There was a motion made and a second, some discussion, that we will direct the superintendent to do detailed information on the feasibility of closing Granard and moving the students to the two middle schools within a period of four months, which would be starting the 2019-2020 school year, or 2020-2021.”
He said they decided to vote on the same presentation during Monday’s regular school board meeting.
“As we go through this process you can rest assured that if we find that we need to wait for what would be the 2020-2021 school year, I would have no problem recommending that to the board,” he said. “It’s up to me to make that recommendation but then it would be up to the board to determine whether they would accept the resignation of four months, 16 months […] or if they came up with another option they would like us to look at.”
Andrews answered questions at the forum, which had a few dozen in attendance.
“He was nothing more than a talking head,” said parent Charly James. “If it was worth my time, he would’ve had answers for me tonight and every other parent in here.”
Other parents expressed similar sentiments about the forum.
“I don’t think they should’ve held one today because they don’t have enough answers,” said parent Ashley Humphries. “It’s just ‘I don’t know.’ ‘We’re working on it.’ Well, they should’ve worked on it a lot sooner before they ever announced it because now we’re really scared and skittish.“
The superintendent says there are unanswered questions as district leaders work on a plan of transition.
He says while the school is currently safe the aging structure has issues and they’re expensive to fix.
“My goal would be, if we could, would be to make this transition sooner rather than later which would be 2019-2020,” said Andrews.
Parents say that’s too soon and prefer the 16 months wait the district is also weighing.
“They’re doing this incorrectly,” said James. “They’re moving too fast.”
Some parents and a student were emotional talking about fears of being uprooted.
“I have a seventh grader going to eighth grade who already knows the teacher she’s hoping to get. Now what?” said Humphries. “This is one of the best schools in the county. When we moved we had the choice to stay with the school district we were in which would’ve been gaffney middle or change here and we jumped on the opportunity to change.”
She said she doesn’t believe the superintendent’s promise that no one would lose their jobs in the transition.
“They say a lot of things. How can they really say no one’s going to lose their job?” said Humphries.
Ewing Middle School Parent Forum from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 17 in the cafeteria
Gaffney Middle School Parent Forum from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 18 in the gym