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Say goodbye to Burnt Chimney and Henry Elementary Schools before they close

Franklin County Public Schools is hosting open houses at Burnt Chimney and Henry Elementary Schools for the community and alumni to say goodbye before they both close for good.

Burnt Chimney Elementary School’s open house will be held Thursday, May 2 at 6 p.m.

Henry Elementary School’s open house will be held Saturday, May 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

10 News had a chance to speak with one former student who attended Burnt Chimney Elementary about what the school meant to her.

Lori Noell, who attended as a child, said she has great memories. Noel said she also remembers singing a Garth Brooks song for the talent show. However, she said she really liked her teachers and the principal at the school.

“I also loved going to the library, and field day was always a plus. It was a sign of the end of the school year,” said Noell.

She said she’s sad that the school is closing.

“It was a great school. A lot of good memories there. I know that the people I was with a lot of them [are] retired or they’re not there anymore, but it was a good foundational school,” said Noell.

Both Burnt Chimney and Henry Elementary are closing at the end of the school year because of funding. School board members voted to close them after the state cut nearly $4 million in funding from the budget.

Superintendent Kevin Siers with the Franklin County Public Schools said Burnt Chimney and Henry were signaled out because of enrollment numbers. He also said Burnt Chimney would have needed $4.5 million of improvements to keep kids there for another ten to 15 years.

These closures will impact hundreds of current students. Almost 300 kids at Burnt Chimney will either attend Dudley, Windy Gap or Lee Waid Elementary Schools. Almost 200 children at Henry will move to Ferrum, Snow Creek or Sontag Elementary Schools.

Siers said there are field trips at the end of the year where kids can visit where they’ll be attending in the fall.

“We’re making this transition as positive as we can for our students. We’ve had a number of events already. We had an informational night for parents at Burnt Chimney and Henry Elementary Schools and then we had open houses at the receiving schools, and they were very well attended,” said Siers.

Source: WSLS News 10

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