Guilford County school board narrowly passes budget

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Guilford County school board members voted 5 to 4 to approve its 2017-2018 budget request Tuesday, which will later be presented to county commissioners.

Under the approved budget request, High School Ahead Academy will have to close.

More than a dozen parents, students, teachers, and community members spoke out before the vote, pleading with school board members to keep the middle school open.

“I would hate to see it go without us doing everything we can do to possibly preserve High School Ahead,” said Travis Oliver, a teacher at HSAA.

About 66 of the school’s 98 students will have to go to new schools in the fall.

HSAA allows students one year behind their peers to catch up, combining 6th, 7th, and 8th grades into a two-year program.

Parents got an automated message about the possible closure on April 4th.

Some speakers at the meeting said it was short notice.

“There is a process,” said Khem Irby, a community member. “A public process, we do not just wake up in the morning and decide that a school should no longer exist.”

The school district says the closure will save $1.2 million.

The money would be used for a program to help 6th through 12th graders recover credits.

“I know it hasn’t been easy, but I trust your recommendation to county commissioners will reflect our priorities as a district and help our students soar to greatness,” said Dr. Sharon Contreras, superintendent for Guilford County Schools.

High School Ahead Academy is the only Guilford County School that will close for the 2017-2018 School year.

The school board also voted unanimously to provide transportation for 6th graders at HSAA to go to any middle school in their region.

The school’s 12 teachers will be reassigned to new schools.