Despite Opposition, Holt School Board Moves Forward with School Switch

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A controversial plan for Holt Public Schools got the official go-ahead Monday night, despite opposition from parents and students.

The move means seniors and ninth graders in the district will be swapping buildings starting in the fall. It's all part of the Holt schools reinvention plan.

The unanimous official vote Monday night garnered audible outbursts and cursing from some in the crowd. The plan--which will move seniors into the district's ninth grade campus while moving ninth graders into the main high school--got the unofficial nod this past April.

In an interview before the meeting, Dr. Johnny Scott, superintendent for the district, said the board normally doesn't have to vote on items like this one.

"The notion of a vote has continually resurfaced so we asked the board tonight in the spirit of transparency to actually take a vote on it," he said.

"This is not a closed process, it has always been open."

But try telling that to the standing-room-only crowd at the meeting, including several students who brought signs and got up to speak during public comment.

"They're not listening to us at all," said Aaron Centofanti, who is currently a junior at Holt High School.

The move will create a program called "middle college" where seniors will have the separate campus across the street from the main high school to take college level courses.

It's a move that Centofanti is going to be directly impacted by and isn't happy about.

"A senior year should be a senior year, we don't want to be college students our senior year, and we want to be leaders at our high school, we don't want to come back over here," he said.

But here--on the ninth grade campus--is where they'll be, despite the board being presented with a petition with hundreds of signatures against the move.

Some parents also claim there are still too many unanswered questions remaining including what college level courses will even be offered to students.

"They're not being reasonable and they're not listening to the people and this is evident tonight," said Jennifer Bertram, a parent in Holt.

But Dr. Scott contends the move is in the best interest of all students in Holt.

"This plan is about the best thing for Holt kids, and we're trying to create an added advantage for our students," he said.

Several of the parents who organized the petition are already calling for a recall of the current board members.

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