The Russell County School Board has voted to close Union Chapel Elementary effective at the end of this school year.
Meeting Monday night during a special called meeting, and in front of well over 100 people including parents, staff and students from Union Chapel and several teachers from other elementary schools, the Board heard a presentation on behalf of the Kentucky Department of Education which has recommended the closing of Union Chapel for the past few years.
The Board also heard from Assistant Superintendent Michael Ford and Curriculum Director Tonya Adams regarding financial and academic concerns. The Board then heard from 15 persons who had signed up to speak on the issue of closing the school.
After more than two hours of discussion and comments, board chairperson Julie Beckmann made a motion to close the school at the end of this year. Board members Wayne Gosser and Steve Kerr also voted in favor of the closing while board member Gerald Murray spoke against the closing. Murray even stated that, quote, “if anyone on this board votes to close it, I will be ashamed to sit by them”. After the vote was taken Murray moved his chair away from the other board members. Board member Brenda Higginbotham was absent from the meeting. She is helping chaperone the Senior class trip.
It is expected students that will be in the 6th grade next school year will receive instruction at a “6th grade academy” to be established inside the Russell County Auditorium Complex.
The Board will have to consider class realignment and school district boundaries at a later meeting.