Concerned Parents Fill Holt School Board Meeting to Protest School Closing

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

In the last nine years, all of Jennifer Castillo's kids have gone through Midway Elementary. Her youngest daughter, who's headed to the second grade, is number four.

"They've been there since preschool and follow in their brothers and sisters steps," said Castillo.

But second grade is as far as she'll get.

In April, the Holt School Board decided to redistrict, reducing its six elementary schools to five, with Midway turning into a preschool starting the Fall of 2014.

Depending on their location, the students of Midway will be separated to the different elementary schools, or they can participate in schools of choice. The problem is that option comes after students of the other schools and other in-district transfers decide whether or not to stay at their current school.

It was just one issue that filled the room at the Holt School Board meeting, Monday.

"They're taking their school away, but then they're not giving them first options to find a place where they will fit in," said Castillo.

Another problem is several parents say they've never heard about the April decision. It's what brought Matthew Wardwill to the meeting.

"Holt is a close community and it's a good education," he said. "Ideally, they should've asked for input before making all these changes."

But School Board President John Malatinsky says, the board did ask for input.

"We had a number of meetings during the fall and winter," he said.

Superintendent Johnny Scott added during the meeting that the decision was posted online. Still, Malatinsky says the board understands the concerns, but this move is about money.

"When we're looking at continued cuts from the state, you either have to get more students, or you have to control your costs," said Malatinsky.

Changing Midway to a preschool is expected to save the district $300,000.


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