BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) — Bristol, Virginia city leaders moved forward with a school consolidation plan Tuesday night.
The city council voted 3-2 to accept the school board’s plan which involves closing Highland View, Stonewall Jackson, and Washington-Lee elementary schools. A new school would be built for second through fifth grades while pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first grades would remain in Van Pelt Elementary School.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council also voted against a referendum from the issue, leading to heated comments by some councilmembers and the public.
“We do not have to force a consolidated school and the financing that goes with it down these taxpayers’ throats and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” said Councilmember Kevin Mumpower.
Superintendent Dr. Keith Perrigan defended the plan.
“Our students deserve the very best that we can give them and providing a 21st-century learning center where students don’t have to worry about bad air or asbestos, handicap accessibility…I think is a move in the right direction,” Perrigan said.
Both Perrigan and Mayor Neal Osborne say the plan was the only budget neutral option brought forth.