Parents rally in Greene County in hopes of keeping two schools open

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL)- Parents of students at West Pines and Glenwood Elementary Schools in Greene County wanted their voices heard Friday.

A group of parents met outside of Greene County’s central office in order to voice their opposition to closing these two schools at the end of this year.

“I’m here today to try to save my kids school, West Pine Elementry,” says mom of three Brittni Thorneburg. 

She says her daughter was devistated when she found out she would no longer be attending the school after the year.

“She was completly worried about all the teachers and her friends and just what was going to happen. There were a lot of tears. A lot of teachers have been down there for very many years. I went there as well as my parents went to West Pine. They’re taking something wonderfull away from our kids and our community.”

It was earlier this month that the Greene County School Board voted to close the two schools.

Both have the lowest enrollment in the district, with fewer than 200 students in each school.

This closure is part of a multi-phase plan that will break up the K-8 system in Greene County and will separate the grade levels.

Parents told News Channel 11’s Kristen Gallant that there is an online petition with more than 100 signatures from those who want to see the schools stay open.

“It’s not right. They need to leave the school like it was,” said another West Pines parent, Polly Rogers. 

While Director of Schools, David McLain, said he understands the frustration he noted that it would take a 20 cent tax increase in order to keep both schools open.

“Certainly I get it. The emotions are high. [My] heart goes out to them. I get the emotions and I understand all those things, but when your down a thousand kids in the last ten years there has to be some difficult decisions made.”

He said by closing the two schools it would save the school system 1.4 million dollars. 

The parents who came out on Friday said they just want their voices to be heard. 

“This is something that none of us want,” said Thorneburg.

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