Leading Creek Elementary School enrollment still low

The principal of Leading Creek Elementary School discusses the perks of operating as a smaller school.
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LEWIS COUNTY, W.Va. (WDTV)- 5 News has told you before about concerns with Leading Creek Elementary School only being about 60 percent full. Now it's the second year for our state's first inter-county elementary school and it looks like there aren't any more kids in the classroom. 

There aren't definite enrollment numbers yet, but school officials say it looks like there will still only be around 150 students in the school built for 240. Leading Creek Elementary is the consolidation of a school in Lewis County and one in Gilmer county and while there are hopes of enrollment numbers going up, so far the situation is up in the air.

"I think it's going to be up to both districts to look at what the situation is," said Chris Derico with the Lewis County Board of Education. "I'm not sure if we need to be looking at any redistributing of where the Leading Creek district is on the Lewis County side, but that's something that we could always look at in the future."

The Gilmer County schools superintendent says he's willing to work to improve the school as well. As for funding, which is based on enrollment, Derico says since Lewis County had a school in the area before, not a lot has changed on their end.

"We look at it from a district, not just per school and so forth. Obviously some schools may cost a little more to operate and so forth, but once again we look at it overall," he said.

State School Building Authority officials have said they probably wouldn't have built the school and spent millions if they had known enrollment would be so low. Scott Raines with the SBA says a "drastic approach" they wouldn't want to do would be to have the counties repay the Authority what they put into the building.

"I can't imagine it would get to that point and I can't really imagine the local board would allow it to get to that point," Raines said.

Actually inside the school, the principal says having a smaller number of kids has its perks.

"I know all their names, first names, I know most of the parents by their face when they walk up to the door," said Principal Kim Freeland. "I know their situations, most of them I know where they live so that's helpful in a lot of situations."

To hear more from Freeland about how the school's first few days have gone so far, see more of her interview in the video above.