The board voted 6-1 in favor of the closures, with Bob Null casting the dissenting vote.
The following is a statement released last night by Superintendent Nicholas Gledich:
Tonight the School District 11 Board of Education voted on the recommendations brought forward by staff as a result of the Optimization of Utilization Plan. The final vote this evening was in favor of the following:
· Consolidate from five to four comprehensive high schools, close Wasson High School and integrate students into Coronado, Doherty, Mitchell, and Palmer.
· Open an Early College, Career, and Alternative Education Center at the Wasson location; consolidate current alternative, career pathway, and adult and family education programs.
o This consideration provides a single location for D11 alternative programs: Tesla, Bijou, Night School, Digital, Achieve K-12, Homebound and Home School, Adult and Family Education, and Career Pathway programs (including auto, hospitality, medical, and ProStart).
· Resolve the Monroe Elementary School detached boundary. There is no impact on students.
· Close Bates Elementary School and Lincoln Elementary School; integrate students into Jackson, Edison, Audubon, and Fremont Elementary Schools
As a result of this vote, many District 11 students, families, and employees will face some significant change next school year. During the Board’s comments tonight, board members remarked on what a difficult challenge it is to close schools, but that they have to be wise stewards of taxpayer funds, while also working to ensure District 11 provides the best quality education for all students. I echo their thoughts tonight, as this has been one of the most difficult processes I’ve ever had to consider as a superintendent.
Board members also discussed the Optimization of Utilization procedure that was used to gather public input, and remarked on the inclusivity and opportunity given for public feedback. Both the Board of Education and I are grateful for all of the community members who took the time to give us feedback and ask questions during this process. The feedback was used as part of the criteria to form the recommendations and will be incorporated in how we will move forward to implement the plan and address needs. Thank you for your help in that process, it was very valuable to both the Board and me.
In light of the vote this evening, I know the coming months may be filled with many questions from our D11 families as to what happens next. I have directed all district staff to work closely together over the next few months to communicate needs and ideas, ensuring a smooth transition for all impacted students and families. Through diligent attention to details, sensitivity to those impacted by changes, and effort to prepare students for a world yet to be imagined, I know District 11 will become even stronger and continue to provide the highest quality education to all students.
Dr. Nicholas M. Gledich
Superintendent of Schools