Parents in Sheboygan upset over possible school closure

CREATED Apr 2, 2013

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SHEBOYGAN - Parents, upset about the possibility that Washington Elementary School could be shut down at the end of this school year because of the millions of dollars in repairs it needs, planned to attend an open meeting Tuesday night.

Washington School Board members planned to be at the open meeting in the Urban Middle School auditorium, to hear parents' concerns. Parent Katie Thurman says many have been outgathering signatures for petitions that they will present to the board. Thurman says they have more than a thousand names on those petitions.

Jennifer Erickson-Beldboom is fighting to keep Washington Elementary open for her third grade daughter.

"It's discouraging, it's something that's scary for me. My daughter isn't particularly good with change," said Erickson-Beldboom.

It wasn't too long ago, the school district used taxpayer money to add onto the school. But, the superintendent says closing the school will actually save money in the long run, because it just needs too much work.

"That's one thing the committee agreed on. It's a great old building, but it's not worth putting that many millions of dollars into a 100 year old building," said Sheboygan Schools Superintendent Joe Sheehan. "The Washington staff will be relocated. So we're very confident that there will not be layoff."

As for the students, they'll be sent to two different schools, Grant and Jefferson, but they're not nearby.

"To have a school so nice and close now and then not have it and be sent a mile and a half is a pretty long way for a kindergardener or first grader to get to school one way or another," said Marilyn Montemay, who is concerned about her grandson walking to school.

"Save Washington School" supporters have another opportunity to voice their opinions. A second open meeting is being held Wednesday night at Urban Middle School.

The Sheboygan School board plans to vote on the matter April 9.