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Marengo County school closing

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The school, which was built in 1966, has a student population of a little more than 100. The school, which was built in 1966, has a student population of a little more than 100.
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MARENGO CO., AL (WSFA) -

John Essex School in Marengo County is closing after this school year.

The school, which was built in 1966, has a student population of a little more than 100 in grades K-12.

"We had 13 fewer students this time around. The enrollment just kept dwindling," said Marengo County Public School Superintendent Luke Hallmark.

County education leaders say they didn't have a choice. There has been a decline in enrollment and consequently the money isn't there anymore.

"This is the trend you see in the Black Belt region. Families are moving away and the families aren't as big as they used to be," Hallmark said.

John Essex School is one of four county schools and the closest to Demopolis.

"It's sad to see it closed but if the numbers aren't there then you have to do what needs to be done," said Mayor Michael Grayson.

For now county education leaders have no idea what will happen to the school. A decision hasn't been made yet.

The property was donated by John Essex decades ago.

Superintendent Hallmark says the other county schools can absorb the students but says their families will have a choice to either keep them in the county or enroll them elsewhere.

Hallmark added the 12 to 14 teachers who work at John Essex School will be hired at other schools or find other teaching jobs. The school principal says at least one teacher is retiring.

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