EDUCATION

Clifton Elementary School closes after long battle

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After a long fight, the final school bell rang Tuesday morning at Clifton Elementary School. The school is closing after 57 years.

Garrett Schultz was “very sad” to see the school close. “Most of my friends are going to different schools. My best friend is going to a different school,” the student said.

"Losing this school is going to be horrible, not just for the kids, but for the parents, the entire community,” said parent Lisa Cushing.

After a long controversy, making its way all the way to the state supreme court, Clifton Elementary School closed its doors for good.

"We tried hard. We didn't succeed. It is what it is,” said parent Ritu Kher.

The Fairfax County school board cited renovation costs, declining enrollment and poor well-water quality. Parents countered say extensive studies and research showed those issues aren’t a real concern.

"I liken this to an execution. If somebody is on death row and the DNA evidence comes in to exonerate them, you don't go ahead with the execution just because it's on the calendar,” said parent Elizabeth Schultz.

Bob Sweeny was a student at the school when its doors opened in 1954. “I opened this building, so I guess I need to close it,” Sweeny said.

Some community leaders hope to re-open the facility as a charter school. The move would make it the first charter school in the county. The proposed school would be the only elementary school in the county to offer an International Baccalaureate program.

The proposal still needs state approval.

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