LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ala. – One Lawrence County High School has been fighting to stay open since 2019. Monday night the Lawrence County Board of Education voted to close R.A. Hubbard High School.
The school board voted 4-1 to close the school. District 1 Board Member Christine Garner was the only one to vote against closing R.A Hubbard.
Lawrence County School District Superintendent Dr. Jon Brett Smith proposed closing R.A. Hubbard High School because it would be a wise financial decision for the district and will provide better opportunities for students.
District leaders said student enrollment steadily declined since 2009, the student body falling from 323 students to 147. The decline resulted in a higher cost per student for school operations.
The Lawrence County Board of Education has been working to implement the terms of its desegregation orders. The closure comes with a lot of community pushback. People filled the board room Monday night to ask the board to keep the school open. Citing race relation concerns if students were made to transfer to other schools.
The district also said the school has a lower number of opportunities due to its size but community members who opposed the closure said the school is a staple in the community.
“It’s heartbreaking because not only do you remove the school from the community, you remove the legacy of the school. What it took to get the school here. R.A. Hubbard had to fight through a lot of red tape just to get the school,” Lawrence County NAACP President Jan Turnbore said before the meeting.
Community members who opposed the closure said the school is a staple in the community and want to keep their predominately Black school open for future students to attend.
Superintendent Smith expects to recommend closing R.A. Hubbard at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.
But before it closes for good, the closure must be approved by the federal district court overseeing the board’s desegregation matter.