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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

NLCS School Board Looking for a third vote to keep open or close the OMS

BEDFORD - MARCH 30, 2023 - School Choice has left many options for parents to send their children to other school corporations, home schools, catholic education, or on-line schools.

North Lawrence Community School board plans to consolidate and right size the school corporation on January 2020 have left a larger impact than originally anticipated.

Following NLCS school board vote on consolidation the North Lawrence Community School Corporation have lost more than 1,055 students with an estimated $7.1 Million in revenue loss.

The opening of Lawrence County Independent School and Springville Community Academy was never on the radar of the former school board members. This leaving the NLCS to find ways to attract students back into the school corporation.

NLCS school board voted twice on the Oolitic Middle School to decide either keep it open or close it. The board voted to keep it open on the first vote, and a tie vote of 3 to 3 vote, with then President Trent Todd absent from the vote, which allowed OMS to remain open.

Currently, OMS remains open with 7 students.

Teacher and staff shortages are making the decision of keeping Oolitic Middle School open challenging. Reports are teachers do not want to return to OMS for a variety of reasons and concerns.

Video: Discussion on OMS by NLCS school board members

The North Lawrence Community School board members held a work session Thursday evening, to discuss the matter. This allowed the public to be able to view the discussion by board members on the matter.

School board members Scott King and Barbra Miller being the more vocal members in support of keeping the middle school open.

North Lawrence Community School board vice - President Adam Parsley was more in favor of closing OMS and stating that he would keep his child at BMS.

" Your child will thrive anywhere your child goes," said NLCS board member Scott King in response to Parsley's statement of keeping his child at BMS.

Parsley was at first opposed to the closing of OMS and is now more in favor of OMS closure.

NLCS school board member Tracy Bailey remained silent throughout the work session, never indicating or responding to any comments or suggestions.

NLCS school board member Jeff Lambrecht, arrived later during the work session.

In a work session there is no public comment period. Most of the time, the real discussions by school board members is held behind closed doors.

Some members of the public have expressed they would like a public comment period so they could weigh in on the OMS proposals.

The NLCS have asked that BMS principal Lucas Calhoun and Interim Superintendent Steve Underwood on developing a survey for parents of students; who might consider attending OMS.

The school board is hoping the results of that survey be completed by April 30th.

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