Bedford County Considers Closing Two Schools
Bedford, VA - Bedford County Schools could save more than $10 million if they closed two schools. The findings of a state efficiency report were revealed at a School Board meeting Thursday, and two schools now are considered on the chopping block. The studies are done in order to show where cuts can be made to save school systems money. Consultants make recommendations, not all of which will be implemented. The consultant told the Bedford County School Board Thursday they could save, $11.4 million with the majority of that cash coming from closing both Bedford Primary and Moneta Elementary Schools. At Bedford Elementary School Thursday, consultants presented 101 recommendations stemming from the state efficiency report. Bedford requested the review last year. Consultants worked with staff and students over a six month period to find out what the school system was doing right, and what they had to work on. Consultants looked at everything from facilities to food service, to technology and transportation. They also suggested some spending for the county and said Bedford need upgrades to building maintenance, additional office staff, and they need to move towards an upgraded file system. All of which consultants said long term, would help the school system function more efficiently. The big one though, the announcement that Bedford Primary and Moneta Elementary are outdated, require too many upgrades, have declining enrollment, and therefore could stand to close. "You can't continue having declining enrollment and continue to operate 21 schools it's just not practical and so we're continuing to see declining enrollment, particularly in those two zones over the next few years and those are very aging buildings" said Gary Hostutler, the Bedford County School Board Chair. On average school systems that have efficiency studies done, implement more than 90% of the recommendations.