By Adam Black
The Ashland Beacon
The fate of Crabbe Elementary has been decided. It will remain open as a public school for kindergarten through fifth grade.
On Monday, Ashland Independent Schools held their monthly Board of Education meeting at their central office to discuss what would happen to the school and listen to public opinion.
Parents and employees of Ashland Independent schools attended the meeting, expressing their opposition or favor of Crabbe Elementary transitioning into an early childhood development center consisting of all the district’s kindergarten classes and some head start classes.
“I am all for an early childhood development center, but I don’t think it needs to be at Crabbe,” Eva Adkins, parent of two students at Crabbe Elementary said Monday after the vote.
During the meeting parents along with several board members were very emotional as they shared their stance on the idea of conversion and expressed the need to do what’s best for the children.
“You promised that you would not do anything that would negatively impact the children,” one parent told Ashland Independents Schools Superintendent Sean Howard. “Closing Crabbe would negatively impact them.”
Once public comment ended, Howard replied to the parents, stating he did not take this idea lightly and has researched it. “This is something that has been in the works since 2002-2003,” Howard said. “I talked to the superintendent who brought it up then and he still thinks it would be great for not only the district but the community.”
“I am all for the idea (of an early childhood development center) but if we are going to do it we need to do it right,” Board of Education Member, Dr. Patsy Lindsey said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it at Crabbe when there is not enough room for all of the preschool classes, stairs the kids have to walk up and down and other issues.”
Two other board members agreed with Lindsey, stating that they loved the idea of an early childhood development center but did not agree that Crabbe was the right fit.
As a roll call vote decided the fate of the school, a sigh of relief could be heard throughout the room from parents protesting the conversion as it was announced that Crabbe Elementary would remain open as an elementary school. Many parents, including Adkins, shed a few tears as others ran outside to call their families to tell them the news.
“This is a community school that we love,” Adkins said. “I’m so happy it is remaining my children’s school.”
Leading up to the official decision parents and community members started a petition and had been gathering signatures on Change.org in opposition of the conversion with more than 1,000 signature Monday evening. The petition was not brought up at the meeting.
The vote was a 3-2 with board members Lindsey, Morrison and Ashby opposing the conversion and Lathrow and McCarty in favor.