Board closes Tallapoosa County school

Posted by: Cody Holyoke - bio | email

DADEVILLE, AL (WSFA) -- Facing financial trouble, the Tallapoosa County Board of Education adopted the recommendation of its superintendent: close Edward Bell High School in Camp Hill.

Superintendent Philip Baker says he's battling the 3% proration set by Governor Robert Bentley-- that's about a $418,000 cut from this year's remaining funds.

According to Baker, closing Edward Bell saves $400,000, offsetting nearly all of the loss.

"It's very emotional, and we understand that. And we're doing this to save jobs and for financial reasons," Baker said.

After the board meeting, dozens of teachers and parents rallied around the group's spokesman on the steps of the Tallapoosa County Courthouse.

Ronald Jackson expressed the collective frustration brought on by the news of the closure.

"Horseshoe Bend [School] lost a greater percentage of students than Edward Bell High School did.  And so did the other schools in the county. This community has been stable," Jackson said.

The group doesn't want a piece of the past to fade away.  Baker says the tenured staff will keep their teaching jobs, but something had to be done to address the deficit.

"Just the closure of one school or possibly two schools is not our answer. It's just one piece of the puzzle. We'll have to find other things to cut in order to make ends meet," Baker explained.

Four to five non-tenured staff members will lose their jobs when the school closes at the end of the academic year.

The superintendent also introduced a plan to reduce staff system wide. He tells us he hopes that plan won't be needed.

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