One Richland resident, who asked to only be identified by the name Kelly, says her daughter wouldn't have finished high school on time if it wasn't for Richland Two Charter School.
“I just know that her stress level would’ve been through the roof if she had to return to her zoned school," Kelly shares, “She just had an extreme situation medically, and a lot of parents who are in that situation would kind of have to cobble together an education but all I had to do when she was missing school due to her health issues- I could simply call Dr. Mills (school principal) and he would let everyone else know and her team was super supportive.”
Kelly’s daughter Abbey graduated from the Charter school last June. Abbey has a physical disability, and after suffering from a concussion, the charter school allowed her to finish on time. According to Kelly, her daughter's zoned school wouldn't have allowed her daughter what she needed to graduate.
When Kelly heard about the school's closing she thought, “It is a shame. I think it was really hitting a specific group of people that really could have used it.”
The original announcement sites financial reasons for its closing.
The district released the following in a statement to WLTX:
"School revenues are determined by the State Department of Education, county governments, and local school districts. The final funding amount is dependent upon the number of students enrolled in the school. Due to declining enrollment, our school no longer had enough revenue to sustain the learning environment appropriate for our students."
The school will remain open through the end of the school year, but students who aren’t graduating will attend their zoned schools next school year.
“Other kids were there for other reasons," Kelly remembers, "some of them had jobs and needed to help their families, other kids were just not being successful at a traditional school. So, one of my worries is that these kids are just going to be kind of sent back to their zoned schools and while their zoned schools are great for the average kid, these are the kids that could fall through the cracks or may not necessarily make it through.”
Richland Two told News19 that school administrators are going to make sure each student joining their community will be provided all the resources and support they need to integrate.
They also say staff from the charter school will be offered other jobs in the district.
A virtual meeting was held Thursday evening to address parents' and students' concerns. Families are encouraged to discuss the closure with students, and questions should be directed to Allen H. Upchurch at (803) 419-1348 extension 21507 or email@example.com.