School board slams door on Wasson High
Bates, Lincoln also set to close with decision
Colorado Springs largest school district will retire Wasson High school this May.
A packed house watched the chool board come to the 6-1 decision. The School District 11 Board approved the Optimization of Utilization plan.
It includes the closure of Bates and Lincoln Elementary schools along with Wasson.
D-11 Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Gledich said this was far from a rash decision. He said utilization was talked about as far back as 2011. Gledich said this plan fills the dual goal of reinvention and a better utilizing resources district-wide.
Several board members backed Gledich.
"This has been very heart wrenching," said Rev. Al Loma, a school board member. "It's been tough. I fully understand why previous boards avoided such decisions."
The board had been criticized for rushing to judgement on closing Wasson as opposed to Mitchell High School, another underutilized school.
Board members countered they're looking at the big picture of the district.
"It is wrong to think that we don't want to do what's best for our students," said Sandra Mann, a school board member. "That doesn't necessarily mean that everybody is going to get what they think is best for them personally."
The Wasson campus will be used for alternative schools starting this fall. That includes the combination of current alternative, career pathway, and adult and family education programs. There will also be a center for early college programs which was applauded by representatives of University of Colorado Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak Community College.
The decision to close the school, which opened in 1959, led to weeping in the hallways by students, teachers and staff. There was also frustration.
"Right now, you have kids at Doherty and Palmer (high schools) with multiple free periods because they don't have the ability to teach enough classes because they are already overcrowded so let's by all means shove some more kids in there," said Theresa James, a teacher for seven years at Wasson.
This decision will also mean new boundaries for the four remaining D-11 high schools that will absorb the approximately 900 Wasson students.
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