KENOVA, W.Va. — Big changes could be coming for public school students in the northern part of Wayne County starting next school year.
During a press conference Tuesday, it was announced that Kenova Elementary and Ceredo-Kenova Middle School would close at the end of the school year, pending approval from the Board of Education.
“I am absolutely heartbroken,” said parent Alisha Davis during an interview with WSAZ-TV. “I am sick to my stomach.”
Once the schools are closed, students will be dispersed, largely based on grade, to other schools.
As part of the current proposal, Ceredo Elementary will hold Pre-K, Kindergarten and first graders from both Ceredo and Kenova.
Ceredo-Kenova Middle students will be split up and sent to either Buffalo or Vinson Middle Schools. Then Ceredo-Kenova Middle will become the new home for Ceredo and Kenova Elementary students in second, third, fourth and fifth grades.
Exact dates for the closures and changes have not been announced.
This latest reconfiguration plan is the most recent attempt to address the controversy in Kenova that began after sink holes found on the property of Kenova Elementary School caused the school to be closed in May 2011. Students since then have been put in modular classrooms.
“We’ve been lied to. We’ve been promised a new school to go directly into so I’m just sick and I’m heartbroken,” said Davis.
Last December, school officials attempted to pass a $30 million school bond levy that would pay for improvements to the existing schools and help build two new schools. That levy was voted down by residents.
According to a press release, another bond election is being proposed for the May Primary. This one would have voters contributing $16.2 million to match $6 million from the general fund and $16.2 million from the West Virginia School Building Authority.
School officials said this one would only address the most immediate needs of the school systems, but still be enough to build a new Ceredo-Kenova Elementary School and a PreK-8 in Crum. It would also allow for classrooms to be added at Wayne High School to get rid of the modular classes.
Before any decisions are made however, community meetings will be scheduled with each school impacted by the proposed plan.
The first one will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 28 at the Ceredo-Kenova High School gymnasium.
No date has been set on when the school board will vote on the plan.