© Jerry F. Couch
Its beginning was filled with optimism and promise…
When the new Cleveland High School building was constructed in 1962, it was expected that Appalachian Power’s generation facility at Carbo, and Clinchfield Coal Corporation’s new mines would bring an influx of residents to the area. That did happen – to some extent. However, it fell short of projections.
By 1972, the Russell County School Board and the Russell County Board of Supervisors faced a dilemma concerning Cleveland High School’s enrollment. Various plans were considered, none of them painless, none of them satisfactory to everyone involved. No one wants to see their school, business, or church close due to changing demographics.
The following article was featured in the March 23, 1972 edition of the Clinch Valley Times. It conveys some of what was being discussed at that time.
CLEVELAND AND LEBANON FACING BUSING ISSUES
Cleveland High School has been the focal point since a proposed transfer busing program was made public in Russell County. This transfer busing program could mean the end of Cleveland’s high school, for the high school students would be hauled to Lebanon for classes.
Lebanon’s sixth and seventh grade students would be transferred to Cleveland which would serve as an elementary school.
At present, the Russell County School Board has not announced its approval of the program. The Russell County Board of Supervisors will soon vote on the School Board’s budget and passage of the budget is mandatory if new buses and more drivers are required to accomplish the transfer of students.
The Clinch Valley Times’ reporter traveled the proposed busing route to Cleveland and visited Cleveland High School. The route is marred by steep curves and a more than slight grade. The distance from the Lebanon school to the Cleveland school is about five miles, requiring ten to fifteen minutes of driving time.
Mr. Donald C. Moore, principal of Cleveland High School for the past three years, obliged us with some statistics of the school. The high school attendance is 293 students, less 80 vocational students from Lebanon and Castlewood. Total enrollment of the school, elementary and high, is 380. The Cleveland combined school was erected in 1962 and placed in use the following year, making the building nine years old in its educational function.
The building houses 16 rooms including a home economics suite, band room, shop classroom, and language laboratory. In addition, there is a vocational workshop, auditorium, gymnasium, and student activity room.
Mr. Moore stated that facilities at the school were above average, but there were a limited number of students using the facilities. He cited a physics class of three and a chemistry class of ten as examples of the economic impracticality of offering varied courses to a small group.
Mr. Kim Bolling, a teacher at Cleveland High, drives to Cleveland from his home in Bristol. He said that he has received word that if Cleveland loses its high school, he will be transferred to another school. Thus, the transfer busing affects not only the students but the teachers as well.