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Majority of board votes to close two Franklin County schools

The school board in Franklin County voted during a special meeting for budget discussion Wednesday night to close two elementary schools.

In two separate 5-3 votes, the board approved for Burnt Chimney and Henry elementary schools to close in the next academic year.

Board members Danny Agee, Arlet Greer, Dawn McCray, Rebekah Slocum and Jeff Worley voted yes.

Members Dr. Kevin David, Jonathan Holley and Carletta Whiting voted no.

The school division is experiencing a $3.7 million budget shortfall because of the latest calculations by the state.

These calculations, known as the local composite index, determine how much funding each area contributes to its schools and how much it receives from the state.

This year, the county was affected by increasing property values near Smith Mountain Lake, which led to a decrease in state funding.

During a meeting on February 22, the board of supervisors agreed to provide $1.3 million in temporary funding and allow the school division to utilize $1.2 million in leftover funds.

According to documents, closing both schools will generate $1 million each for the school district.

These actions will inject approximately $4.4 million into the budget for the 2024-2025 school year.

The school board will finalize its budget plan on March 4 before submitting it to the board of supervisors for review.

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