WALKER COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - By Sherea Harris
JASPER, AL (WBRC) - Motions ran high at a Walker County School Board meeting Monday afternoon. The board made a decision parents did not want to hear. The school board voted 4 to 1 to close Townley and Farmstead Junior High Schools, saying it's in the best interest of the school system.
The school system needs to make up for a 4.7 million dollar budget deficit.
After the vote, people sobbed. Parents, students, and teachers of both schools were upset and hurt.
"I have a concern, a very big concern. This is not sending a good message to our children. They say this is something they'll get over but it's not," said Townley parent William Main.
"I don't think we deserve it. It shouldn't have happened. It's going to hurt us bad," said sobbing Townley student Bella Dutton.
Controversy surrounds the closings of the two schools. The public believes the school board has another agenda. Parents at Townley School say the board is selling the school to a company that's interested in the land, but the board strongly denies the allegations.
"They are not worried about our kids, this is about dollars. That's what it's about. Drummond Coal Company wants to buy that property and pay the board out," said Townley teacher Cheryl Fox.
After the vote, Walker County School Board members were escorted out a side door as they were being verbally attacked.
The closures of the two schools are set for next school year.