|FIRST REPORTED 9:58pm 3/9/10, UPDATED 9:28am 3/10/10 Residents of the Monmouth-Roseville School District likely knew what the outcome would be, but didn't like it anyway.
The District-238 School Board Tuesday night, as part of a three-tiered plan at addressing a current six-figure budget deficit and a potential future one-point-five million dollar deficit, voted 4-3 to close Roseville Elementary School and Willits Primary School in Monmouth.
All board members said it was not an easy decision to close a school. And to hear former Warren School Superintendent Bill Reese tell it, it shouldn't have happened anyway.
"These communities of Alexis, Yorkwood, and Union, that make up United (School District) are watching very closely what happens here," Reese said. "They are watching very closely -- closely with sympathy, to what happens with that Roseville grade school."
Reese says the closure would hurt the district's chances at any future consolidation a district like United.
Board secretary Brad Larson took serious issue with Reese.
"You have fought this district ever since I've been here," Larson said to Reese. "Now for you, all of the sudden, to have a lot of interest in this district, that tells me one thing: you're trying to undermine it. And I don't appreciate it."
Parents who attended the meeting almost unanimously felt that action didn't need to be taken Tuesday night to close schools. But others felt like they had no time to waste.
Resident Van Adkisson says he doesn't think the community has had enough of a say.
"I believe the vote to begin closing school attendance centers tonight is premature," Adkisson said. "And doing it without proper community input will likely divide the district, and cause irreparable harm to our District 238 community."
Cassie Ecklund of Galesburg is a Monmouth-Roseville teacher and ROWVA School District graduate, and says District 238 should do what ROWVA did when they were faced with closing a school.
"Our (ROWVA) School Board and our community worked together for an entire year to decide which buildings were the best buildings to close," Ecklund said. "And as I look at some of your faces and have talked to some of you, some of you aren't sure what you want to do, and even if closing a building right now is the best decision. So, I really think that you should take longer to decide which buildings should be closed, if that even is the right decision right now."
Superintendent Paul Woehlke says he feels the pain of residents of Roseville who are now officially going to be without an elementary school, but ultimately, the good of kids outweighs the good of the community.
Woehlke says while he gets the potential impact that could be had on Roseville if their elementary school were closed, that's not what he thinks about.
"I understand the impacts (closing Roseville Elementary School) will have on the district," Woehlke said. "Probably I don't fully understand, but I appreciate, at least intellectually, that it does. I understand what's happening to small towns in this state and this nation. But my first responsibility is to our students."
Some parents left the meeting after the school closing vote was taken, before they learned about other unanimous decisions including investigating a sales tax increase and possibly consolidating with other districts.
To view the full list of cuts Woehlke recommended, CLICK HERE.
(The Monmouth-Roseville School Board listens to resident Van Adkisson Tuesday night in the Central Early Childhood Center gym.)
(Bill Reese speaks as he has a resident hold up a map of what once was all the Warren County School Districts.)
(A resident verbally confronts District 238 School Board member Mark Coclasure, right, as board secretary Brad Larson, left, watches. WGIL News story and photos by Will Stevenson.)