Closure on table for McKenzie School in Butler Co.

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

McKENZIE, AL (WSFA) - Betty Stinson can't stomach the thought of her old high school closing. "It would be devastating," Stinson said.

More than anyone Stinson believes the potential consequences. She served 12 years as mayor of McKenzie, 8 years on the town council.

"We don't have many businesses and our tax base is next to nothing," Stinson said.

To be fair Butler County Superintendent Darren Douthfitt who declined an interview for now says closing McKenzie is merely an option. There are three other possibilities they're looking at but Douthfitt wouldn't elaborate. McKenzie has around 350 students in K-12.

Regardless, school board member Linda Hamilton told WSFA 12 News at the end of the day 'we have to remain solvent.'

Alabama public school districts are having a difficult time making ends meet, much of it due to the economy and the third year of proration in the state. This year's proration is costing the Butler County schools $500,000.

Closing McKenzie school would save the school system more than $100,000 a year.

Butler County Commissioner Lynn Watson says he's open to the idea of helping the school district keep McKenzie open if school officials come up with a proposal. So far they haven't, according to Watson.

"I'm only one of five but I would vote if it's feasible," said Commissioner Watson.

The vote either way could come Thursday night and the former mayor plans to be there. The meeting is set for 5 PM Thursday in the Georgiana High School gym.

"My daddy went to McKenzie, my children graduated from McKenzie, even my aunt," said Stinson.

Sentimental feelings versus financial realties, a tough assignment ahead for county school leaders.

Copyright  2011 WSFA 12 News.   All rights reserved.