Body Camp residents protest proposal to close school

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By John Barnhart

Several Body Camp residents showed up in front of the school division’s central office, Monday, to protest a proposal to close Body Camp Elementary School.

    “We believe that no school should be closed,” said Renata Chockley. “It’s not fair to the community.”
    According to Barry Tosh, co-vice president of the school’s PTA, Dr. Douglas Schuch, superintendent of schools, and District 2 school board member David Vaden, met with parents at the school on Feb. 15. Tosh said that they were told that there was an A list and a B list of items to cut out of the school budget in order to balance it. The A list consisted of the first cuts that the school board would consider. The B list contained other items to be cut if the A list proved insufficient.    
    Tosh said that they were told that closing Body Camp was a B-list item and even listing it was a formality. But according to Tosh, closing the school is now at the top of the school board’s list of cuts.
    “In that meeting, they kept trying to defuse everything saying ‘Don’t worry, you are at the bottom of the B list,” Tosh said.
    Candace Adkins, president of the Body Camp PTA, believes that school officials, recalling how hard Body Camp parents fought last year, told them that to keep them from fighting from the beginning.
    “All of it has been very drastic,” she said.
    The picketers plan to be back again picketing on Thursday and Friday, starting at 9 a.m. Tosh would like to see people from other parts of the county join them.
    They are also circulating a petition calling for Dr. Schuch to resign and Liz Jackson, the other co-vice chairman of the PTA, said that people who want to sign it may call (540) 537-1947.
    “In my opinion, he needs to go,” she said.