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Worthington Elementary School, Parkersburg, W.Va.

West Virginia district decides to close 2 schools

Running out of reserve funds, the Wood County board will close 2 elementary schools may close a third.

The Wood County (W.Va.) school board has approved closing two elementary schools at the end of 2019-20, and will decide the fate of a third school later this month.

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel reports that the board voted to close Worthington Elementary School and McKinley Elementary School, both in Parkersburg.

The votes wrapped up four days of school closure, consolidation and merger hearings.

A vote on Waverly Elementary School in Waverly was delayed until Oct. 23 because of a typo in the school’s closure documents.

Board member Justin Raber says the board has little choice but to move forward with consolidation.

“We are running out of financial resources and will potentially deplete our reserves in 20 to 24 months,” Raber says. “We cannot take a wait-and-see attitude. This has been kicked down the road long enough.”

Officials say closing those buildings is the only way to prevent Wood County Schools from running out of savings within the next two years. Finance Director Whitni Kines says the district will spend about $2 million of its $4.8 million in savings to operate during 2019-20 and may have to deplete the rest of its savings in 2020-21.

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