Barbour County Students, Parents Show Support for Volga-Century - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Barbour County Students, Parents Show Support for Volga-Century Elementary School

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Last fall, the Barbour County Board of Education voted to keep Volga-Century Elementary School open after hearing input from the community.

But for parents and students, the battle isn't over just yet, as low enrollment still hovers over the future of the school.

On Wednesday night, community members took to the streets of downtown Philippi, expressing concerns that the BOE's "master plan" has inevitably set them up for failure.

"We want our pre-K and kindergarten back. We're not getting answers, so we're going to make some noise until we do," said parent Lorie Rifenburg.

Standing in the pouring rain, students and parents had one message for the Barbour County Board of Education: Give us a fair chance at keeping Volga Century Elementary School open.

"It's the best school ever," said Serenity Rifenburg, 6.

"This school is better, and we have better teachers," said Chloe Dennison.

"I like being closer to home," said Caylee Simons.

"They took our fifth grade and moved them to the middle school, coming next year. They took our pre-K and kindergarten away from us last year.
 Next year, we're going to have around 20 students. They voted to keep us open, but they're not getting us kids," said Lorie Rifenburg.

Another concern for the Volga community is the risk of overcrowding at Philippi Elementary. 

"The more students there are, the less the teacher can get to the people who need help," said Liam Davis, who's in the fifth grade.

"When we look at our numbers, we do not see that based upon the numbers that we're allowed to have per class per teacher," said Superintendent Joseph Super of Barbour County Schools.

As a child, Kelly Emfinger attended Volga Century, as did her two children. But when it comes to her three-year-old grandson, who is slated to begin pre-kindergarten next year....

"We will just keep him at home. We will not, absolutely, will not send him on a bus at four years old from Volga into Philippi. I know what's going on in the school buses. There's drugs, there's pills, there's violence," said Emfinger.

"It's not our intent for any child to miss out on education. We will provide for whatever our resources allow us to do. But until such time that my director tells me go ahead and put a classroom back there, until those numbers are there, I cannot do that," said Super.

Super said the BOE has no intention of closing Volga. It has, however, received an efficiency report from the state department that said it has too many buildings running for its enrollment totals. Members anticipate the numbers from this school year before any potential further step is taken. 
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