The superintendent of Lawrence County Schools has suggested the school system shut down one of its high schools due to funding and low student enrollment.
Superintendent Jon Bret Smith presented his proposal during Monday’s school board meeting, calling it a tough decision that was not made hastily.
“Overall, we cannot lose focus on what is best for our students,” Smith said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there are several issues facing R.A. Hubbard High School.”
Those issues, he said, include “an enrollment that consistently falls below 150 students” — the 7–12 school currently has 147 students — and limited funding. Smith said the funding issue in particular has meant students at R.A. Hubbard do not have the same access to resources and opportunities that are available for larger schools.
As a result, he has suggested closing the school and splitting the students among Hatton High, East Lawrence Middle and East Lawrence High schools.
This would also allow the school system to further desegregation efforts. About 70% of the R.A. Hubbard student body is Black, according to Smith, and the proposal — if approved — would allow the district to improve its racial balance among upper grades.
A slideshow included with his presentation at the school board meeting can be viewed by clicking here, then visiting the RAH information tab. Members of the community are encouraged to provide feedback on several related questions on the website as well as in the front office of any of the schools in the system.
Community members can also email their answers to email@example.com.
Feedback will be accepted until Nov. 30. The board is expected to vote on the proposal at their December or January meeting. Once approved by board members, it will make its way to a federal judge, as the school system is operating under a federal desegregation order.
This is the same process used in 2009, when a federal judge approved closing Hazlewood, Speake and Mount Hope high schools in Lawrence County. Students who were attending Hazlewood at the time were transferred to R.A. Hubbard.