- Hamilton Co., FL - July 11, 2012 -
The report cards are in for elementary and middle schools across Florida. And the surprise performance of one failing elementary could save another much loved school from almost certain closure.
"That's a wonderful staff at Central and they beat the odds. And that's what our whole county has been about," said Shauna Adams-Farris, Director of the White Springs Boys & Girls Club and parent of a child at South Hamilton Elementary.
"Central got what they needed to get. South Hamilton got what they needed to get. And everybody is happy now," said Katrina Dye, parent of two at South Hamilton Elementary.
Parents and teachers are cheering that Central Hamilton Elementary in Jasper is no longer an "F" school. The Florida Department of Education scored it with a "C". That means South Hamilton in White Springs will not have to close.
"A lot of hard work. A lot of dedication. When community and staff and family come together miracles can happen," said Shauna Adams-Farris.
In August, the Department of Education demanded the district close one of its elementary schools following Central's continued failure.
So the school board voted to close South because it's physically the smaller school.
Superintendent Martha Butler wanted to take part in this report but she is in Panama City for a conference. She tells Eyewitness News over the phone that this is a great accomplishment for Central Hamilton stemming from a lot of hard work. And as for South Hamilton, she is thrilled to say it is no longer necessary for them to close.
South Hamilton and North Hamilton Elementary schools both received a "B" grade.
Just because the Hamilton County School Board is no longer trying to close South, doesn't mean the fight for a charter school is over.
South's Governing Board is continuing with the charter application. That will allow them to run South independently of the school board. Now the school board will vote to either approve or deny the application Monday. If they reject it, the Governing Board can appeal to the Department of Education.
"Primarily so that the students will be the great beneficiaries of a charter application being in good place. And also to make sure that we do things the way they're supposed to be done," said Johnny Bullard, Charter School Supporter.
That school board will either accept or deny the application in their scheduled meeting this Monday at 6:00 pm.