Super: Fifth-graders still moving

The superintendent of Barbour County schools said Tuesday that, despite rumors to the contrary, next fall the school system’s fifth-graders will attend the county’s middle schools as planned, and not remain in elementary schools.

“The vote was taken and the fifth-grade students will move up to middle school next year,” Dr. Joseph Super told The Inter-Mountain Tuesday. “I am not aware of any plan to make a change in that policy.”

On July 8, the Barbour County Board of Education voted to move all of the county’s fifth-grade classes from elementary schools to middle schools for the 2014-2015 school year.

In recent days, however, parents have claimed to the The Inter-Mountain that students have been told the fifth-graders will remain in the elementary schools next fall, since the board members voted unanimously last week against closing Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon elementary schools.

Parents have also left posts on social media sites asking whether the fifth-graders will still be making that move to the middle schools. Some students have even reported that their teachers have told them fifth-graders would remain in the elementary schools.

During the July 8 board meeting, a recommendation to move the fifth-grade students to middle school was approved in a 3 to 2 vote by board members. Super said the idea to move the classes was born when the BOE received requests for more room in the schools by members of the elementary school’s Local School Improvement Councils.

In mid-August, the Barbour BOE proposed closing two elementary schools, Volga-Century and Mt. Vernon Elementary, in order to save about $700,000 annually and avoid major renovation costs. The board set public hearings at the two schools, and one at Philippi Elementary School, where the children from the closed schools would attend in 2014.

Hundreds attended the public hearings, and dozens spoke before the board, asking the officials to keep the schools open.