Lynchburg, VA - It looks like Campbell County is getting closer to consolidating a good chunk of its schools. Last night, the school board voted to adopt a plan which will create an East Middle and High school and a West Middle and High school over the next 25 to 30 years. The measure passed 7 to 2.
School Board Member George Jones is one of two school board members who said, "No."
"I voted against the proposal," said Jones.
He invited us to his farm to explain why.
"Now we're able to give them individualized instruction, we're able to know them, know their parents and while you do gain economic efficiency, you lose the educational benefits of a small school," said Jones.
Jones says he voted the will of the overall community.
"The concept of losing a community center is so critical to a small town and I feel that with the closing of William Campbell we will have lost that," said Jones.
Campbell County Resident, mother and former Rustburg High School teacher, Norah Jones says she hopes to see the plan take shape.
"I do believe that, in the long run, it will be a good move for Campbell County, a strengthening for Campbell County and for the educational opportunities for all of its students," said Jones.
She knows the school system well, having worked in it for about two decades.
"Students get sometimes a bigger picture of what the world is and their role in it, in a powerful way, when they have larger schools," said Jones.
She agrees with Superintendent Doctor Robert Johnson, who says the new building would enhance learning. But many, like George Jones, are not buying it.
"They're afraid they're going to get lost in a larger school," said George Jones.
This capital improvement plan now heads to the Board of Supervisors. We are told they will most likely vote this summer. Keep in mind, if passed, this is a project nearly 30 years in the future. The cost, we are told is roughly $180 million.