Another 4-star S. Indiana elementary school set to close

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by Adrianna Hopkins

WHAS11.com

Posted on March 16, 2010 at 11:47 PM

Last week it was New Albany Floyd County Schools that closed two four star schools. This week we heard JCPS could make drastic changes.

Tuesday night, a unanimous vote by the Brownstown Central Community School Board closed Freetown Elementary School.   Despite parents and teachers' pleas against it, the superintendent says it's something that had to happen.

"We encourage you to take other options into consideration and vote 'no' to option 1," said one parent.

About 80 people showed up to the Brownstown Central Community School Board meeting, waiting to see if the school board would vote yes to option 1.

The option would close a four star school: Freetown Elementary. It means moving 94 students 11 miles to Brownstown Elementary.

Two other people asked the board to consider other solutions to closing the projected $1 million budget shortfall. Then came the vote.

"All those in favor of option 1 say 'aye.' 'Aye.'"

"We've had to make cuts... unfortunately, it's not an easy thing to do. But it's the thing we've had to do," said one board member.

"If you haven't go the money, you can't spend it," said another.

"You wanna know why they're closing a four star school? Freetown? It's because Brownstown can barely make it. They're tired of hearing 'Freetown's a four star school.' They don't want to take anymore flack," said concerned grandparent Diane Gilliam.

"My daughter who is left in elementary school is doing well in school now. I hope that when she moves, she holds her own," said Freetown Elementary School PTO President Nina Kuhlman.

"I understand people are disappointed. But we had to start moving... we've got a lot of work to do. We wanted to save student programs and that's been the goal all along," said Superintendent Roger Bane.

Diane Gilliam also said she had a message for Governor Daniels: "Do something to protect four star schools from closing." She said in her opinion, schools that meet and exceed expectation should be exempt from budget cuts.

Some people said they'd be willing to pay more in taxes. However, the superintendent said the school system wouldn't qualify for a referendum.

The superintendent and board members also warned the people there to expect more budget cuts in the future.

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