Wasson community urges school board to not close school
Students, parents and staff made a last ditch effort to convince the School District 11 school board to not close Wasson High School.
Closing Wasson and using the campus for alternative programs is part of the School Optimization Project which could be approved by the board in a special meeting Feb. 6.
The plan is to combine early college curriculum, a career center and an alternative education program at the current Wasson High School. The campus would also be home to adult and family education programs.
Wasson High School opened in 1959. Closing the school will save the school district approximately $1.2 million, according to district estimates.
Many with ties to the school are angry at the possibility of it closing. They don't agree with the district's assessment that closing the school is the answer to the district's underutilized campus.
The plan would also close Bates and Lincoln elementary schools and integrate those students across Jackson, Edison, Audubon and Fremont. The district said it will improve the "instructional economy of scale" by providing more than one teacher per grade level.
The school district launched the School Optimization project with the goal of operating each campus at 85 percent utilization. Every middle school in the district hovers right around that optimum percentage which is why no middle schools are part of the closure plan.
Critics of the plan said it was devised with the goal of shutting down Wasson and no other school was considered for closure, including Mitchell High, which also suffers from some of the same problems of under utilization.
School District 11 blames the advent of charter schools and academies and the "school choice movement" as the reason schools are seeing a drop in student population. They estimate a loss of 14 percent over the last decade.
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