PAINT ROCK, AL (WAFF) - Paint Rock Valley School will remain open after a vote to close the school failed to pass.
The school board vote ended in a 2-2 tie. One board member abstained.
Community leaders have said the school, which has been open for over 80 years, is very important to the community and its identity. According to one petition, some children at the school are 2nd, 3rd, even 4th generation Paint Rock Valley students.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Kevin Dukes said if the school remains open, that a significant amount of money will be spent on repairs just to bring the school building up to code, and some folks in Jackson County feel like that is taking money away from larger schools that need improvements.
It's not yet clear how financial concerns of the school's needed repairs will be addressed.
Supporters of Paint Rock Valley School were pleased after the board didn't have the votes to approve the superintendent's recommendation to close it.
"I've said if it stays open it's time to put some money in Paint Rock Valley. I'm a man of my word and we're going to start getting this up to code and things to where they need to be," said Dukes.
Due to the board's decision, Dukes said there will be changes to the five-year capital plan. That means projects at other schools will be on the back burner as they make improvements to Paint Rock Valley School.
And it's that extra capital that some in the Paint Rock Valley believe will make a difference in getting up the enrollment.
According to the Alabama Department of Education, Paint Rock Valley School's enrollment is 79, making it the smallest K-12 school in the state. The second smallest K-12 school is Amelia L. Johnson High School in Marengo County with 181 students.
"We have got to have the backing right there. We've never had it. We have made it on our own, our family, our teacher, and support from the community," said Paint Rock Valley resident Mike Sisk.
But some also think the lines should change for Paint Rock Valley School.
"If we could expand that, if the board would consider rezoning a little, we could increase those numbers immediately," said Shad McGill, who has children at the school.
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