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School board approves reassignment plans, votes to close T.C. Berrien


Parents of students normally assigned to T.C. Berrien and Lillian Black elementary schools now know where those children will go in the 2022-23 school year.

On Tuesday night, the Cumberland County Board of Education made final decisions on student reassignment plans.

In other business, the board voted 5-4 to continue with the optional mask policy for the next month. By state law, the board is required to vote each month on whether face masks will be optional or mandatory.

When it came to the proposed plans for the reassignment of students who would normally attend T.C. Berrien, the board’s Auxiliary Services committee members on March 1 voted for plan A. That plan divides the school’s 178 students between Lucile Souders and Ferguson-Easley elementary schools.

The full board on Tuesday night agreed with the committee’s decision and voted 6-3 for that plan. Board members Carrie Sutton, Deanna Jones and Judy Musgrave voted in opposition.

School officials have said that plan would be a minimal movement of the school's 178 students. Those students would be the only ones affected by the redistricting.

During the committee meeting on March 1, Sutton and Musgrave expressed concerns about a lack of diversity of the student body with the plan.

As for the 175 students who attend Lillian Black Elementary School in Spring Lake, they will be reassigned to W.T. Brown Elementary School in Spring Lake along with 78 students from the southernmost portion of Manchester Elementary School.

The vote was 6-3, with Sutton, Jones and Musgrave voting in opposition.

After that, the board voted  9-0 to close T.C. Berrien Elementary at the end of the current school year.

In 2021, T.C. Berrien students were moved to W.T. Brown after the Board of Education decided that renovations to Berrien would be too costly. In March of that year, the board approved an option to initiate the closure process for T.C. Berrien.

The board also approved a reassignment plan that affects students at Douglas Byrd and Ireland Drive middle schools.

Students at Ireland Drive Middle will be reassigned to Douglas Byrd Middle starting in the fall.

The school system will now begin taking steps as required by law to consider closing Lillian Black Elementary and Ireland Drive Middle schools at the end of the 2021-22 school year. 

Michael Futch covers Fayetteville and education for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at mfutch@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Cumberland County, Board of Education, student reassignment, T.C. Berrien Elementary School, Lillian Black Elementary School, Ireland Drive Middle School