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Controversial Vote Consolidates Montford North Star into Asheville Middle School

School merger protest demonstration.

Controversial Vote Consolidates Montford North Star into Asheville Middle School

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (HERE NEWS) — By a vote of 5-2, the Asheville City Schools Board of Education has elected to consolidate Montford North Star into Asheville Middle School. The decision, made on Monday night, has sparked emotions of anger, sadness, and frustration among parents and students.

Parental Outcry

Emotions ran high as Montford North Star Academy parent Jennifer Gladden expressed her disappointment, stating, “This is a school that is one of the highest and one of the only achieving schools in our district. They’re closing it.” Tears were shed, and voices were raised following the vote, leaving many supporters of Montford North Star feeling saddened by the decision.

Gladden also voiced concerns about the impact of the consolidation on students and their future, questioning if the move will ultimately benefit the schools as a whole in the long run. “How do they know that if they send their kids to these schools, and the numbers keep dropping, that their school won’t close?” she added.

Board Justification

Speaking after the vote, ACS Board of Education Chair George Sieburg defended the decision, stating, “I believe fully that what we are doing creates a more stable and strong district. One that can pay teachers what they truly deserve and allocate resources that are best for all of our students. I hope that the parents can see that.” Superintendent Dr. Maggie Fehrman echoed this sentiment, emphasizing that tough decisions were necessary for the future of Asheville City Schools.

Future Plans

While the future of the Montford building remains undecided, discussions prior to the meeting suggested the possibility of relocating the ACS Education Career Academy (ECA) into the old Montford space. The decision to consolidate Montford North Star into Asheville Middle School will come into effect at the beginning of the 2024-25 school year.

Challenges Ahead

Despite the Board’s rationale for the consolidation, parents like Gladden are finding it difficult to support Asheville City Schools in the wake of this controversial move. “I don’t have the money to send my kids to private schools. But this is making it really, really hard to stand by Asheville City Schools,” she expressed.

The vote has left many in the community divided, with concerns raised about the impact on students, teachers, and the overall educational landscape in Asheville. The decision is set to bring significant changes to the school system, prompting discussions about the way forward amidst declining enrollment rates.

Conclusion

The consolidation of Montford North Star into Asheville Middle School has ignited a debate within the Asheville community, highlighting the challenges and complexities faced by the education system. As stakeholders continue to navigate through this transition, the focus remains on ensuring the best outcomes for students and educators in Asheville City Schools.


HERE Asheville
Author: HERE Asheville

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