by Sam Hieb
At last night’s meeting the Winston-Salem/Forsyth Board of Education voted to close Hanes and Lowrance middles schools following Winston-Salem Journal reports of contamination underneath the campus from a nearby manufacturing operation.
The vote was 7-2 — the two ‘no’ votes were David Singletary and Elisabeth Motsinger–an interesting vote considering the fact that Motsinger is an outspoken liberal:
“I’m really bothered by this,” Motsinger said. “By the time this move goes into place we will have gotten an enormous amount of good data. I feel the public has really been harmed with inaccurate reporting of science and an inaccurate understanding of what these levels are and the toxicity.
“In years to come, we will look back at this decision and will be a little bit surprised we made it.”
The vote to close the schools by March 2 is only the beginning, as Superintendent Beverly Emory begins work on the logistics surrounding the displacement of 1,100 students:
The disruption to students and their schedules is likely to be large. Everything from bus numbers to bell times will be changed. The district will need to keep students out of school for either a Friday or Monday near the move weekend to allow staffs time to get new classrooms ready. Emory said the challenges of such an unprecedented move were part of her recommendation to hold off, but the district has been preparing for this option.
“I needed to look at the logistics,” she said. “We’ll figure it out and make it happen with the least disruption to kids.”
Stay tuned — this “is just the first of many decisions the board will have to make concerning Hanes and Lowrance.”