KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – The Kanawha County Board of Education is considering closing three elementary schools and merging them with others.

If approved, Grandview, Marmet and Weimer Elementary Schools would be closed. Grandview students would be split between Edgewood Elementary and Mary C. Snow West Side Elementary. Weimer Elementary students would be split between Bridgeview Elementary and Alban Elementary and Marmet students would be moved to Chesapeake.

“I’m not happy with this consolidation at all,” said Frances Armentrout, a Marmet Elementary School parent. “There’s an adjustment period. A huge one, and like I said, I went through it with my teenager before. Now, this one is only seven years old. I just don’t want to go through that with her.”

Tom Williams, the Superintendent of Kanawha County Schools, said the decision to propose this was due to low enrollment at all three schools. 

Williams said there are around 23,000 students currently enrolled throughout the school district. That number has dropped by around 4,300 over the past ten years

“We only have x amount of dollars to work with and we have to make sure every dollar is used appropriately,” Williams said. “When you have students that have fewer students and you can consolidate without any cost then we have to do that.”  

The consolidation would not only affect students but also staff members. Williams said those with seniority may be able to find other positions within the district, but the closures would cut about 23 professional and 15 service staff positions.

To ease the transition for students and staff, Williams said the consolidation would not happen until the 2024-2025 school year.

“If it goes through, that would give our schools time to do joint activities next year so that the kids, let’s say from Marmet, that are going to Chesapeake would have several opportunities to go to Chesapeake for activities and see the building and become familiar with it and the same with the other two schools,” Williams said.

Parents who spoke with 13 News said they are still worried about how it will impact their kids, and they hope their children’s schools will not close.

“It’s not something we take lightly,” Williams said. “Generations of kids and families have gone through these schools and it becomes very emotional, but at the end of the day we also have to make sure we have enough funds to keep our system.”

No official decision has been made yet if these schools will be closed, but Williams said there will be public hearings later this spring to discuss the proposal. 

After that, the Kanawha County Board of Education will make a decision. If approved, it will go to the West Virginia Board of Education to vote on.