It's a decision that could affect hundreds of students in the Gates-Chili School District. At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Superintendent Rick Stein recommended closing one of five elementary schools in the district.
He says shutting down Washington Irving will help the district close a 3 million dollar budget gap.
Rashaunda Butler went to the Washington Irving Elementary School years ago. Her niece and nephew both go to the school now. She says it's tough to think they may lose touch with some of their good friends if they get split up. "You got to have a whole new teacher. A new school. Make different friends. It's going to be hard for the little ones," said Butler.
Dianna Jobes' son Brandon is in Kindergarten at the school. She says he's too young to understand what's at stake. Her oldest son Jonathon is a second grader at the school. He's having a hard time knowing he may have to switch schools. "He got really upset. But I told him he'll make new friends and at the same time some of his old friends will be there too," said Jobes.
Dianna says she knows the district is in a tough spot. She's also worried things like art and music may not be in the curriculum by the time her two little ones are in middle school. "What's next? I mean they just keep taking a little at a time. The more they take away the less the kids have," said Jobes.
If the school does close, the students would be divided among two schools. Those who live North of Buffalo Road, about a third of the students, will go to Neil Armstrong. Those who live South of Buffalo Road will go to Paul Road schools.
Stein also recommended cutting the Assistant Superintendent position and some pre-school staff. The school board still needs to approve the recommendations. A decision is expected at their March 25th meeting.