Robeson County residents, students ask board not to close schools

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LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) — Several Robeson County residents addressed the Public Schools of Robeson County School Board about the consolidation of numerous schools in the district Monday night.

The public hearing was held at Lumberton Junior High.

News13 spoke with Superintendent Shanita Wooten concerning the closures previously. She said it was needed due to a $2 million operating deficit in the district.

Students, parents and community members had the opportunity to be heard by board members for three minutes. Dozens of people decided to air their concerns.

Distance was a common concern people brought up. Many parents said students would have to wake up extra early to make it to their new schools.

Angela Rowdy is a South Robeson High School parent and said she feels disappointed with board members.

“How many plans do they have to have? Decisions were made above our head, and it caused them to be in this situation,” Rowdy said.

Although there are a total of 13 board members, only 10 were in attendance. The majority of the crowd was concerned with the closure of South Robeson High School.

“It’s not fair to anyone because it’s going to start with our schools. This is a centralized attack on the south-side of our county. All these schools are on the south-side of the county, so if you start closing schools, you start closing businesses. What business is going to want to bring a venture to a place that doesn’t have a high school?” said Cale Lowery, a South Robeson High Student.

If South Robeson closes, students are expected to attend Fairmont, Lumberton or Purnell High School. Several students and parents said they refuse to accept those options.

“I’m disappointed that they can put these kids through this. They are having a horrible summer because all they can think about is what will happen to their school,” added Melissa Ocean.

Board members stayed quiet throughout the meeting and only took notes. With teachers starting school Aug. 12, the board is set to make a decision soon.

The school board will have a meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Lumberton City Hall on 500 N. Cedar St. School consolidation is listed on their agenda items.

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