Local school district to close elementary school to save money

Final decision on Baywood Elementary closure made Monday night

GRAYSON COUNTY, Va. – Some Grayson County parents will have to send their children to a different school in the fall after school and county leaders decided to close their current elementary school.

Leaders decided Monday night to close Baywood Elementary, effective July 1.

"It's just a situation where we've got to find money and it's my job to make sure the budget is balanced," said Kelly Wilmore, superintendent of Grayson County Public Schools. "I hate this. None of us likes this. This is not something we wanted to do and no one wants to close a school, especially a school that's been as successful as this school has been the last three years I've been here."

Wilmore said the district has to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall created by a significant drop in local, state and federal revenue.

"We made it evident a year ago that the revenue coming in, there would be less and significantly less. We also made it very clear that these are the things we'll have to do if we do not get some more help," Wilmore said. "We've been very transparent from day one."

Wilmore showed 10 News the conditions inside the 65-year-old building which revealed chipped and peeling paint, evidence of water leaks and the need for an elevator if additional students attended Baywood.

He said the school's well could need tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades.

"It's safe, but it's still to a point where we have to continue to treat it on a weekly basis," Wilmore said.

Parents reached out to 10 News with concerns about what schools their children would attend. Wilmore said most students would attend Fairview or Independence elementary, but students also have the option to attend Fries School.

"Most parents have contacted us and have an idea," Wilmore said. "We have a dividing line but we also will take applications to be able to go to different schools if the parent's not satisfied with the school they've been chosen to go to."

Wilmore said Baywood teachers and staff members will fill positions that are already open in the district, and no one will lose their job.

"We pretty much know where all of our teachers are going to go," Wilmore said. "We still have to balance a few things around with personnel, but we have a good idea where everyone's going to be next year, if this has to happen."

The district is looking at ways to use the building and land, including the possibility of developing an agricultural lab outside.

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