CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — On Monday, the School Building Authority approved $70 million for school renovation projects across the state.
However, it did not approve the $8.2 million the Kanawha County School Board requested to close Cedar Grove Middle School and make updates to Cedar Grover Elementary.
Both the KCS school board and the state board of education had already approved the closure, but the project was contingent on funding from the SBA.
“I was very disappointed, but I understand there are a lot of schools with different needs so there’s not enough money to go around,” said Becky Jordon, Kanawha School Board president.
She says the middle school keeps losing students, so it would be more effective for them to attend Dupont Middle, a 20-minute drive.
The plan was to update and beautify Cedar Grove Elementary in the same school complex.
Longtime Cedar Grove residents approached by 13 News Monday say they don’t want their middle school children sent away.
“We’ve had that school here for many years now, and now they’re going to do away with part of it, you know that school’s been there for a long, long time,” said one resident.
“We had three lots on the river, they were going to build a new school library and all that, the very next year they sold it and sent the high schoolers away to Dupont,” remembered another one.
Earlier this year, students at Cedar Grove Middle School told 13 News that the closure had been talked about for so long they’ll likely never see the change.
Jordon says Cedar Grove Middle has been a good school for a long time but with its declining enrollment, they will have to consolidate at some point.
“I know it feels safer to have your kids in your own community, and I know this may be a longer bus drive for some of the kids but we can provide them at Dupont because it is a bigger school with more options for curriculum,” said Dupont.
A spokeswoman for the school board said they will propose the consolidation project again to the School Building Authority in December.