GRAVES COUNTY, KY -
Friday was not only the last day of school for students before summer let out, it is the last day - ever - for a local elementary school. Cuba Elementary in Graves County was recently praised as a model teaching environment.
However, after Friday, staff at Cuba Elementary said the school will close its doors for good. The Graves County Board of Education voted four to one to close Cuba Elementary School.
A decrease in enrollment and financial problems were some of the reasons behind the decision. The Kentucky Department of Education recommends schools maintain enrollments of about 300 students or more. Cuba has had fewer than 200 students for the past six years.
Superintendent Kim Harrison said the school's closure will save the district about $370,000 a year.
Kindergarten teacher Reba Wiggins said the closure of Cuba Elementary will be bittersweet.
"I've never taught anywhere else, so I don't know what it'll be like. I have two teaching partners, that's one great thing, but I'll always have our memories here, " said Wiggins.
The district plans to divide Cuba students between Sedalia and Wingo Elementary schools next year. Principal Lora Miller said it will be a difficult transition for both faculty and students.
"I am excited for these kids, but packing up is always hard, no matter where you're going or how long you've been here. I've only been here a year, but this is home and this is where I'm supposed to be," said Miller.
It is a tough decision, but Miller said she believes it is in the best interest for her students.
"They will have different opportunities and chances to change classes that they haven't been able to ever do before," said Miller.
For Wiggins, the move concerns her, but she knows her kids will always be Cuba Cubs at heart.
More than 100 students will attend Wingo Elementary school next year. The remaining 58 will go to Sedalia Elementary. We are told none of the teachers are losing their jobs. They will go to other schools.
The Graves County Board of Education chose the company in a special meeting last night.
Some Graves County parents and community members are still looking to save Cuba Elementary. A group of about 200 members called, 'Save Cuba' filed an injunction earlier this month to stop the board from closing Cuba Elementary. A lawsuit has officially been filed, in Franklin County Circuit Court, against the board of education and Kentucky Department of Education
'Save Cuba' said the local school board did not go through the proper procedures to close the school. Spearhead Josh Cherry said the closure of Cuba would mean mixing students into much larger schools further away, putting strain on the kids and parents.
"It's very dear to me that the school stays open. My father went to school here, I went here and my son went here. We as a school feel like the board is overstepping their boundaries and is going about this the wrong way," said Cherry.
A judge will decide if the school board acted appropriately or not. The court date is set for June 2nd.