Fairfax Co. School Board Votes To Close Clifton Elementary

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com

    Board members for Fairfax County Public Schools have voted to close Clifton Elementary.

    Thursday night's board meeting in Clifton, Va., was contentious.

    At-Large board member Tina Hone attempted to offer a compromise: an amendment to postpone a decision about Clifton for three years, provoking applause from the pro-Clifton crowd.

    But when debate started amongst school board members, any good feelings evaporated.

    When Springfield board member Liz Bradsher posed a pointed series of questions at Hone, Hone shot back, and Chairman Kathy Smith tried to keep the peace.

    "Mrs. Bradsher, you have commented to me that you don't like being cross-examined, so if you're going to ask me a question, allow me to answer," Hone said.

    In the end, Bradsher's point of view -- that keeping Clifton Elementary in the building's current condition would rob other schools of needed resources -- won the day.

    The vote prompted shouts of "Shame on you!" from Clifton residents, and then a mass exodus from the auditorium.

    Clifton resident Paul O'Leary, who has two sons at the school, fought back tears.

    "I don't understand how they can say the rest of the county deserves their school, but we don't deserve ours," O'Leary said.

    Clifton Elementary won't close until fall of 2011 at the soonest, but the district may start moving some students to other schools this fall.

    Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

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