Wise County, VA school board votes to close Appalachia Elementary

WISE COUNTY, VA (WJHL)- Monday night school board members voted 6-2 to close down Appalachia Elementary school, a school that has been open since 1976.

As of this fall, the approximately 300 students at Appalachia Elementary will be moving into Powell Valley Primary and Middle School.

Wise County Superintendent Greg Mullins said they will be changing the names of those schools to Union Primary, and Union Middle School.

Both of those schools are located just down the road from Appalachia in Big Stone Gap.

Mullins said all 35 staff members at Appalachia Elementary have also been reassigned to other schools in Wise County, but said most of them will be going to Union Primary, and Middle School.

Mullins said this decision is a result of a decline in enrollment, loss of jobs with the coal industry, and an overall stagnant economy in the area.

The county estimates they will be saving $600,000 annually by closing Appalachia Elementary School.

The last time Wise County consolidated schools was back in 2014, when Powell Valley and Appalachia High School combined to form Union High School in Big Stone Gap.

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