District 11 in the Springs voted to close Wasson High School along with Lincoln and Bates elementary schools.
It wasn’t easy for anyone as the school board voted 6-1 to shut down the schools. It was very tense and emotional inside the packed board room as students, teachers and parents made their final pleas to save their schools.
The school board said while it was a heart wrenching decision, they couldn’t vote based on emotion; they say they had to focus on the “big picture,” what’s best for all students and taxpayers.
Many students, teachers, and parents burst into tears when the vote came in.
The people 11 News spoke with say they thought the board was “out of touch” and felt their voice didn’t matter.
“I put so much into my school. I’m in student government, I do sports, I do everything I can for my school. I’m an A-B student. I do everything I can, and then this,” said Wasson junior Morgan Hauner.
It's a decision that is especially tough to swallow for juniors at Wasson, who now are changing schools for their senior year.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be best for us students,” said Hauner.
“They are making a huge mistake. The district doesn’t need to the money. The superintendent said in previous community meetings that we have a sound budget. It’s not about the money, I want to know what it’s about, because right now they're messing with kids' lives and for what? Something that doesn't even have to be done,” said Wasson teacher Theresa James.
James, along with many other parents, teachers and students 11 News talked to is worried about the Wasson students transferring from a small school that offers one on one help, to being shoved into a different overcrowded school.
“These kids are gonna slip through the cracks and I’m not selling my kids short, cause I would never sell my kids short. These are the best kids I’ve ever been able to work with,” said James. “I know they need what they have at Wasson and they just lost it.”
"They love it because it's such a small community. We know each other. You can walk in the school, the teachers know you, they say hi to you, they care about us. Now we are gonna go into a school who doesn't know our background and doesn't know who we are,” said Wasson mother Sabrina Bess.
“We are a Wasson family. We bleed cardinal and gray, and now we just bleed,” said Bess.
Bess is the mother of two twin girls who graduated from Wasson in 2009, as well as a son who is a sophomore there.
“I learned a lot of stuff from that school. And I gained a lot of friends and memories that I will never forget from there. So it's really hard seeing those heartless people not see how much it means to people,” said alumni Amber Bess. “It's not just the people that are going there, it affects everybody. Its affects my family, my brother doesn't get to graduate from there now."
“This year, sophomore, he lettered in varsity. He doesn’t get a letter jacket with his Wasson letter. He's gonna have to have a W to put on somebody else's letter jacket. That's just not right, not fair to these kids,” said Sabrina Bess.
All three schools will close at the end of this school year, with students starting in schools at the beginning of this fall.
Parents can pick which schools they want their kids to go to, as long as there is room in that school. They have until March 22.
The district will be having a future meeting to discuss changing school boundary lines in order to transfer the students.
Wasson will be turned into an early college and alternative school education center, which will house all of D-11’s alternative education programs under one roof.
The board still has yet to decide what will have with the two elementary school buildings.
District leaders say they had to shut down the schools because of declining enrollment and to save money.
“The decision was extremely hard, but I still think it was best for students. I think that utilizing our resources more effectively gives our students more opportunities in so many areas, “said D-11 Board of Education Vice President Luann Long.
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