Wise County School Board votes to close Appalachia Elementary School

The Wise County School Board on Monday voted to close Appalachia Elementary School as part of the board's associated vote to approve its 2017-18 fiscal year budget.

Fourteen people opposed to the school closure addressed the board during the public hearing on the matter, including Appalachia Mayor Teddy Collins and Town Manager Fred Luntsford Jr.

The school opened in 1976 and now has approximately 300 students who will be moving into Powell Valley Primary and Middle School.

Wise County Superintendent Greg Mullins said they will be changing the names of those schools to Union Primary, and Union Middle School.

Mullins said all 35 staff members at Appalachia Elementary have also been reassigned to other schools in Wise County, but said most of them will be going to Union Primary, and Middle School.

Mullins said this decision is a result of a decline in enrollment, loss of jobs with the coal industry, and an overall stagnant economy in the area.

The county estimates they will be saving $600,000 annually by closing Appalachia Elementary School.

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