COUNCIL BLUFFS — Community members expressed sadness and anger Tuesday night over a proposal to close Walnut Grove Elementary School.
More than a dozen community members supporting Walnut Grove attended the Council Bluffs school board meeting, at which members heard the recommendations of the Facilities and Boundaries Committee for several district buildings.
Among the recommendations is closing Walnut Grove Elementary after the 2013-14 school year and reassigning students to other schools in the Thomas Jefferson High School attendance area.
During the meeting, parents and children held up homemade signs with the words “Save our school” and “Don’t be cruel, save our school” written in colorful markers and crayons.
“I am here this evening to show my full support to save Walnut Grove Elementary School from being closed, and I am asking that you make it a landmark school, preserving the history and uniqueness of the school,” Roxanne West, a former Walnut Grove parent, said.
Teresa Valyer, a grandmother of a Walnut Grove student, has been seeking signatures on a petition to save the school.
“I have 1,047 signatures for you tonight. If it would take another thousand or two thousand, I’ll go and get them,” she said.
Carri Pond, a Walnut Grove parent and co-chairwoman of the Facilities and Boundaries Committee, and Jason Plourde, assistant principal at Wilson Middle School and co-chairman of the committee, presented the committee’s findings to the board.
The committee’s other recommendations include remodeling Lewis & Clark Elementary and reviewing attendance area boundaries for the Abraham Lincoln High School feeder system.
Other recommendations include remodeling the former Washington Elementary building so it can accommodate programs currently located at the Kanesville Alternative Learning Center as well as district offices, which are currently located in the Educational Service Center.
The committee recommends considering asking district residents to approve a bond issue to fund renovations of both Kirn and Wilson Middle Schools. The committee also recommended the board consider including Council Bluffs Stadium improvements in the possible bond issue.
The committee hopes the school board can take action on the proposals by May 14.