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GASTONIA, N.C. --Cheers broke out at the Gaston County School Board meeting Tuesday night when the board members voted unanimously to keep three schools open.

The parents who packed the meeting were from Rhyne and McAdenville Middle Schools and York Chester Middle School.

The board members voted down a recommendation from the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. The recommendation to close the schools was projected to save the school system $900,000 a year.

But speakers urged the board to consider the cost that the closings would mean to their children.

It means a lot, said Keyonia Barnette. I have four kids that attend Rhyne School and it is like a home away from home for them.

Also in the audience was a teacher from Rhyne who did not want to give her name.

We just hope they make a decision that is good for our families and our children, she said.

The youngest speaker to address the board was Rhyne fourth-grader Madee King who asked the board to keep her school open.

The teachers are like part of our family, she said.

When it came time to vote it was unanimous - all three schools would stay open.

As she left to take her daughter Madee home, Allison King said, It proves that they listen to us. Our voices can be heard.

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