May 25, 2011
Emotions ran high Wednesday night as a local school board voted to close a school to save money.
The Haven School District has been considering whether to close any of its five elementary schools. Wednesday night, board members voted to close down Mount Hope.
Now, Mount Hope Elementary will not open for students this next fall. Instead, the more than 100 students will go to Haven, about seven miles away.
"It is very sad but it's something that if we're going to have a district in the future, something has to be done," said Haven parent Amy Kraft.
"I think they need to consider every school, every child, and what is best for everybody," said Haven parent Amy Hirst.
And board members say they did just that, in deciding to close Mount Hope, with most of them saying they would rather close a school than cut programs.
However, not everyone agreed. One board member said he believed parents and teachers were willing to sacrifice in order to keep schools open, as a closure is permanent.
But at the end of the meeting, the closure passed with a vote of six to one. The cut will save the district close to half a million dollars in a budget of less than $7 million. This, after the district already cut around $900,000 over the past two years.
"We have tried to keep it away from the classrooms as much as possible, and for us at this point we can't do that any longer," said Haven School District Superintendent Patrick Call.
"We know the kids are the ones who are going to ultimately have to deal with what's happening. But we feel the kids will adjust quickly no matter what happens," said Haven parent Dale Vierthaler.
The board says it will discuss the logistics of closing the school, including staffing changes, at its next meeting.