Decision Looms For 2 Bedford County Schools As School Board Tours Buildings

Bedford County, VA - Two elementary schools in Bedford County are at risk of closing down for good.This all stems from an efficiency study released in May which recommended two schools be shut down, expected to save the county more than ten million dollars.

Only one school is expected to stay open.

"It's the economic reality of the situation we just can't continue to maintain this numbers of buildings with the number of students we have," Bedford County school board chair Gary Hostutler said.

Hostutler says he wanted to see beyond the classroom criteria, looking at each kitchen, boiler room and septic tanks. He says the building's age and maintenance will play a factor in the final decision. Bedford Primary is 50 years old, while Thaxton Elementary was built 80 years ago.

"It's not like these are up to date buildings both need significant maintenance," said Hostutler.

Dozens of teachers, parents and young students attending each school came out in full spirit, wearing shirts and holding signs in support of their beloved school.

"If they close [Bedford Primary], they are losing an asset to the community," Roger Deeter, who's daughter went to and currently teaches at Bedford Primary.

"[It's a horrible] feeling, stomach in knots," described Ashley Overstreet, a mother with a first grader at Thaxton Elementary. "I'm hoping and praying every minute that they keep the school open."

The worry for many: what's going to happen to their schools and teachers.

Bedford Primary currently has 281 students; Thaxton 193 students.

"We want to retain as many positions [as we can]," said Hostutler.

Parents weren't able to ask any questions but will have that opportunity on Tuesday at a public hearing. The school board is expected to make a decision on September 11th.