A month after an overflow crowd packed into a public hearing pleading with the Johnston County Board of Education not to close South Campus School, the board has voted to close the school at the end of the school year.
On April 6th, a total of 19 people spoke during the hearing, all asking that the school, which helps students who have disciplinary issues and other problems, be left open.
The school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to close the school saving about $2.37 million annually.
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Eddie Price said there is no intent to close the Therapeutic Learning Center.
“This recommendation is less about closing a school and more about changing a district’s approach to students whose behavior may not conform with what we have defined as traditional,” Dr. Price said. “This recommendation is about establishing a philosophy at each school and not just one, where relationships and personalization are prevalent and the needs of each student is addressed.”
“This is not about educators at a school not performing but more about changing a district’s perception of at-risk students in an effort to ascertain greater success that produces a more functional community,” Dr. Price told the school board.
Crystal Kimpson Roberts, Chief Communication and Engagement Officer, with Johnston County Public Schools said Thursday that all 31 South Campus employees will have a position within the school system and will be placed appropriately. Their last day on the job at South Campus will be June 21st.
Choice Academy Hubs May Replace South Campus
Board of Education leaders are considering the implementation of Choice Academy Hubs for exceptional children in Johnston County Schools. Three sites being considered for the hubs include Clayton, South Johnston and Smithfield Selma High Schools and would operate from 2:30pm until 6:30pm each day.
Officials say the goal is for all students to walk into their traditional school the first day of classes this August. However students with exceptional needs and disciplinary issues could be sent to a Choice Academy for additional resources matched to their particular needs. It would focus on flexibility in the scheduling of students who may be forced to work to provide for their families and school has become a secondary goal.
Middle school students would have access to a dedicated counselor, student advocate and a social worker.
The concept was presented during the May 9th school board meeting but no formal action was taken. The cost of each hub is projected to cost $100,000 per year.
The average cost per pupil in a traditional school in Johnston County is between $8,000 – $9,000. The average cost per student at South Campus has averaged $19,000 per student. In April, the current enrollment at South Campus school was only 30 students.