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Parents, Community Ask School Board to Keep Yancey Elementary Open

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Yancey Elementary School (FILE IMAGE) Yancey Elementary School (FILE IMAGE)
The Albemarle County School Board discussed the future of Yancey Elementary School Thursday night The Albemarle County School Board discussed the future of Yancey Elementary School Thursday night
Kate Acuff, school board chair Kate Acuff, school board chair
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -

A large crowd of people from Esmont spoke up at the Albemarle County School Board meeting Thursday, pleading with the county to keep Yancey Elementary School open.

The school board has been considering closing the school for years, but may finally be moving forward to make that idea a reality.

Yancey Elementary has suffered from low enrollment and test scores for years but now, the school may lose almost half a million dollars in federal funding if President Donald Trump's proposed budget goes through.

Some school board members say that adds new urgency to the years-old conversation on the future of Yancey Elementary.

Over a dozen parents and Yancey Elementary alumni spoke, most from the African-American community living near Yancey.

“They would like to see the school stay open, to see that these students can be educated - which come from disadvantaged backgrounds, some,” one parent said.

About 75 percent of Yancey students are economically disadvantaged and almost half are minority students.

“I feel that my child has to get the education that she deserves and by you taking that away from her, it's just beyond... I can't believe it!” a parent said.

There are other issues at play. The school is set to lose about $400,000 of federal funding if Trump's proposed budget goes through.

You care about numbers. I don't care about numbers and I know that I shouldn't say that. It does take money for these things to progress, but think about the children,” said a parent.

School board members say that's not the deciding factor - the county has talked about closing the school for years due to low enrollment. Yancey currently has about 120 students and low test scores.

“The issues that are being considered in connection at Yancey are much broader than pure economics,” explained Kate Acuff, school board chair.

After public comment, the board discussed how to move forward with the school closing. In a tight 4 to 3 vote, the school board decided to hold a public hearing on May 25. Then, they'll vote whether or not to close the school.

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