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School Board votes to close Big Creek Elementary

By: Rebekah Pewitt Email
By: Rebekah Pewitt Email
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - The Perry County School Board voted to close Big Creek Elementary School for good.

The school was recently damaged in a flash flood, but board members say declining enrollment is one of the reasons it will not re-open in the Fall.

The room was packed with Big Creek Elementary students and parents.

Even Local firefighters, who helped clean the school after last week's flash flood, voiced their concerns at Thursday's School Board Meeting.

But a three to one vote by board members closed the school for good.

“The board has to make decisions based on the information that we have, and there are a lot of variables that come in to play,” said Perry County Superintendent, Jonathan Jett.

Board members say those variables included flood damage to the school and dropped enrollment throughout the years.

However, Big Creek teachers and Principal say it is heartbreaking for their students.

“You know, when something like this happens it tears [the community] apart, and becomes a tragedy for all of us,” said Big Creek Principal, Jeff Castle.

Yet, he is confident the students and faculty will do well no matter where they are.

“I've got a great staff, and they'll be great no matter where they're at; and they really care about the kids and teaching them the values that's going to make them lifelong learners,” said Castle.

Officials say the nearly 125 students can attend Willard Elementary or AB Combs Elementary by bus.

The superintendent says he expects to determine where Big Creek's faculty and staff will be placed within the next week.
UPDATED @ 6:00

Board members will discuss whether to keep Big Creek Elementary open or shut the doors forever.

Just one week ago, water and mud filled the hallways of the school.

The county's janitorial staff and local fire departments spent days cleaning it.

School officials are concerned about the possibility of mold in the classrooms.

Superintendent Jonathan Jett says their main concern, however, is the school's enrollment.

He says Big Creek had 128 students enrolled last year and next years enrollment is projected to be 125 students.

Jett says if the school closes most of the students will have the option to attend A.B. Combs or Willard Elementary School.

We will have much more on this story tonight at 11.

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