With School Set to Close, Parents Seek Options

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

"Right then, I was upset about it," Tammy Dotson recalled.

Dotson was upset to get a note from her son's school telling her the the building, Gunnisonville Elementary, wouldn't be around next school year.

She and other parents got a chance to see their options Tuesday.

"Schools that are in close proximity," Lansing School District Superintendent Sharon Banks said, as well as those available under Schools of Choice.

The district has a tentative plan to split the attendance area for Gunnisonville between two other schools, Post Oak and Sheridan Road. Others could go to magnet schools or elsewhere in the district.

"I think a lot of questions got answered," parent Monica Smithke said.

Smithke says, all things considered, the district is doing what it can.

But some like Dotson hoped the meeting would be an opportunity to plead the case for keeping the school open. She says the school's small class sizes mean more one-on-one attention.

But the district says it simply can't continue to operate Gunnisonville, with its smaller classes and emptier hallways.

"We are at 137 [students]. That's an enrollment number I feel is not adequate," Banks said.

Many parents we talked to say they understand the financial pressure facing the district. But some say administrators weren't honest with them about what was happening to the school.

"We went and specifically asked, 'Is it true?' That's upsetting," grandparent Shirley Cain said.

Banks tells us there are no plans to close any other schools for next year at this time.

And even this closing isn't certain just yet. The school board will ultimately decide.

Board President Guillermo Lopez said the closure seemed logical, but the board would decide what's best for the students.

If the closure does happen, the neighborhood will lose a building. Some parents and teachers hope they won't lose the sense of community.

"They won't forget Gunnisonville. They won't forget it," Smithke said.

Parents will have another chance to meet with the district to consider options on February 12th.


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