Chambers Co. Schools host public event for input on high schools merging

Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:26 PM EST
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VALLEY, Ala. (WTVM) - Now to East Alabama, where two public schools in Chambers County are one step closer to merging into one facility.

The move comes after a federal mandate to ensure schools are no longer segregated in the area.

One parent in the area tells me the county is broken up by race, and its very apparent in the schools. Over the summer, a federal judge said that’s unacceptable. So tonight, school officials held an event to hear input from parents and students on the merge.

Next year, Chambers County’s school system will look different. For over 50 years, the school district has been at the center of a desegregation order. In July, a federal judge called for racially segregated schools to close.

“I have two girls who go to the school system here, and it’s really important for me that their culture is seen,” said Sim Floyd Jr.

He and his wife are parents to two children who attend schools in Chambers County. Floyd Jr says two high schools in the area -- Valley and Lafayette High are split up by race.

Determined to unify the community, school officials began working to merge the two schools.

“It would be a great opportunity and provide way more scholarships,” said LaFayette High School Sophomore Da’Mauriel Davis.

Over the past several months, officials have held multiple public meetings asking for the community’s input. Thursday evening, another event was held. This time, students and parents were asked what they would like to see at the new school.

“Well one of the questions was, what the new mascot could be and the new name, obviously. Um, I did Chambers County Rangers, I do believe,” said Valley High School Senior Caleb Poe.

“I feel like with us being such a small town school. We haven’t had opportunities such as Opelika and places like that. So I just want to see more foreign language classes, better technology and stuff like that,” said Valley High School Senior Treanna Bridges.

Students from both high schools say they believe combining the schools will be a great move.

“The band can grow together, you know, different styles,” said LaFayette High School Senior Delarric Holloway.

“I actually think it’s a good idea because it would give us, as Sophomores, more opportunities,” said LaFayette High School Freshman Ma’Leahyia Mackey.

They say they have enjoyed attending their schools.

“It has honestly been great. We have very inspiring teachers,” said Valley High School Sophomore Meredith Crawley.

“I don’t know how I feel. I think it gives us more opportunities and stuff,” said LaFayette High School Freshman Amoreya Doss.

But, many say they hope to see major upgrades at the new school.

“I want to see some new athletic facilities. I hope to have the best in the state, state-of-the-art facilities,” said Valley High School Junior CJ Chambley.

Chambers County superintendent Casey Chambley says the architects will compile information from this event and deliver a report to the Chambers County Board of Education. They hope to pick a name by January or February and break ground in May. There will also be a survey sent to anyone who could not attend.