“Save our School” rally set for Tuesday

A community-organized rally to show support for Hancock’s schools has been set for next Tuesday, March 9 starting at 5:30 p.m. in the Hancock Middle-Senior High School parking lot. Organizers are encouraging families and friends of the local schools to attend and make signs to show their support.

In late January, Washington County Public Schools officials asked a committee of the school board to review enrollment and school capacity around the county. That effort has taken aim at schools in Hancock, where enrollment has declined over recent years. School officials have said they have to consider closing or consolidating certain county schools to make their operations more efficient and cost-effective.

County school officials expect to get recommendations from the facility committee by mid-April about which schools to consolidate or close.

Hancock families and community leaders have engaged school officials in meetings and through other means to make arguments against closing either of the town’s schools. Hancock school supporters have told county officials that future economic development will likely add families to the local enrollment, and that sending Hancock students east to a school like Clear Spring would be unsafe due to extended bus travel and unfair to kids and families.

Washington County Public Schools officials are set to present a draft of their next fiscal year budget to the Washington County Board of Commissioners at their next meeting. School officials have said expected budget shortfalls are the reason they are considering facility consolidations at this time. An official facility plan from 2019 did not recommend any closures of Hancock schools. More than $2 million worth of improvements have been made to the local schools in the last two years.