The Frederick County Board of Education will hold a special meeting Friday to discuss Sabillasville Elementary School and possibly revoke its decision to close it.
A resolution document listing four actions could be found on the BoardDocs website Thursday. The document, which will be voted on Friday, states that the decision the board made on Nov. 23 of last year to close Sabillasville Elementary is rescinded and revoked; the superintendent is directed to schedule a public hearing on the question of closing Sabillasville; the superintendent is directed to provide timely newspaper notification required by Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) and Board Policy 200; and that the board will hold a public meeting to consider the question of closing Sabillasville and make a final decision.
If the vote passes, the resolution will go into effect, and the previous action taken by the board to close Sabillasville Elementary at the end of this school year will be revoked.
The board originally voted to close the school due to dwindling enrollment and high costs associated with the continued operation of the building. Since the board began discussing the future of Sabillasville Elementary in early 2020, the small community has fought to keep the school open.
After the board voted to close it in November, the community decided to submit a charter application in a last-ditch effort to save the school and prevent local students from having to travel to Thurmont for their education.
The charter application proposes that the school be turned into a public charter school that would still fall under the umbrella of FCPS but would deliver a classical education—similar to the Frederick County Classical Charter School—with a focus on environmental and agriculture studies.
The community has long complained that the process of closing the school was handled poorly, and there has been debate over whether FCPS followed protocol and allotted specific time for a public hearing on the issue last year as per Board Policy 200.
In an email, board President Jay Mason said the board was made aware of these specific concerns related to a lack of a public hearing.
“In discussing this as a Board, we felt it was important that the [Sabillasville Elementary] community know that the Board took this concern seriously. The [special] meeting has been scheduled for the purpose of considering the adoption of a Board resolution to address this matter,” he said.
Alisha Yocum, president of the Sabillasville Elementary Parent Teacher Organization, has been leading the fight to save the school.
She said in an email Thursday that the community only learned of the board’s special scheduled meeting through a FindOutFirst email. Members of the community are still trying to wrap their heads around what is happening, she said.
She also mentioned that the community had filed an appeal shortly after the board’s original decision. That legal case is still ongoing.
“At this time, we don’t know what this means for the school, the community, or for our charter school efforts,” Yocum said. “We can only hope that this is a step in a positive direction, and there will be clear communication and transparency along the way.”