Updated as of 3:43 p.m. on March 1 to include when the ABSS School Board is scheduled to further discuss the budget.

For numerous faculty members and roughly 236 students in Alamance County, the Alamance Virtual School is an integral part of their daily lives. When Superintendent Dain Butler proposed cutting the school amid a budget shortfall of $3.2 million for the Alamance-Burlington School System; it left many community members concerned. 

“We were all shocked, and all refers to our students,” James Coble, an AVS science teacher, said. “People may think that AVS only has 236 students, but on that morning, there were 236 AVS students that were crying. They were angry.”

The Alamance Virtual School is an online alternative for ABSS students and is designated as its own school in the school district. The virtual school was developed after the COVID-19 pandemic and based on virtual classes taught in the quarantine-era. 

After a tense public comment period during the board meeting on Feb. 26, numerous members of the Board of Education voiced their support for keeping the virtual school — including ABSS Board of Education Chair Sandy Ellington-Graves. AVS Data Manager Erica Johnson also agreed.

“I also ask that you add and include the funding for the virtual school. I do not support the recent decision to close our school, where myself and my 39 colleagues support and educate scholars,” Johnson said. “You failed to give the common courtesy to inform us before you informed the district.” 

During the meeting, an update was also provided on the ongoing budget issues for the school system and reiterated that there will be no Reduction In Force for district employees for the remainder of the 2023-24 school year. 

If the Alamance Virtual School is cut, the district will meet with each AVS employee to discuss transitioning them to a different job within the district. Though, such a cut is now unlikely based on community feedback. 

According to Les Atkins, ABSS public information officer, the board is scheduled to discuss the budget further on March 12 and March 25.