SCOTTSBORO, Ala. -- Decades ago the first students walked into a Jackson County school and in two days, students will leave the small historic school for the last time. Jackson County Schools officials voted to close Paint Rock Valley School last week at a meeting. Now comes the task of nailing down logistics.
Jackson County Schools officials voted to close the school last Thursday. The move was unexpected that day. The school was on the agenda to discuss repairs, but a board member amended it which led to a vote to close. Last year the board voted to keep it open.
Paint Rock Valley School dates back to the 30s. It's a product of the communities in the area working together to create more opportunities for their kids. More opportunities are what Jackson County Schools leaders feel the school's students will get with a move to close the small school. "There are some very successful people from Paint Rock Valley School, but where the enrollment is today with the opportunities today, we feel like Skyline or Woodville is a better option," explained Jackson County Schools Superintendent Kevin Dukes.
Families will choose either Skyline or Woodville, and that's where the tenured staff are slated to go too. "So the students from Paint Rock Valley will have a familiar face at their new school," Dukes said.
School officials estimate the bus routes to be about the same. The equipment will be used throughout the system, and Dukes said they have an idea for the building. "We want to make that a community building," he added. That would have to be a Board decision.
Paint Rock Valley School is a K through 12 school. School officials say 74 students total go there. It was on the agenda last week because it needed repairs that could cost more than $200,000. School officials say looking at the long-term potential repairs and the funding for them factored into the decision to close.
Some families in the close-knit area aren't happy with that decision. Some parents voiced complaints about lack of repairs at the school but school officials say many of the schools in the system need repairs, and it's a matter of time and funding before they can be addressed.
Dukes says closing the historic school comes with emotions. He adds they're trying to make the transition as smooth as possible for students. "At the end of the day this is what I personally feel is best for the students at Paint Rock Valley School," he said.
Thursday is the last day for students.
There's an open house on Thursday at six o'clock at Woodville for Paint Rock Valley School parents and students. They had the same opportunity Tuesday night at Skyline. Dukes says the idea is to familiarize the kids and their families with either school, so they can pick one that's the best fit.