Final School Days

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23 News told you about how the Rockford school board eliminated $17 million from the budget.

Schools closing, staff without jobs, and programs no longer being offered is what faces District 205 next year. When the school year ends, two schools will be completely closed. Rock River has been a part of the district for 93 years, but as of June 4 the learning stops.

In the 2004 - 2005 school year Sky View will close as an elementary school. Also, Dennis will be strictly an early childhood school, getting rid of the K-5 that is currently in the school.

Normally, kids are excited about summer vacation, but at Rock River elementary school the last day is a bit harder to take. Rock River made the list of schools that will close in the Rockford Public School district. 23 News takes us to the school that has taught many lessons, in education and in life, over the past 93 years.

It was 1911 that school bells rang for the first time at Rock River. Teachers only got paid $50 a week. There are two buildings that are connected now, but back then, the building only had 4 classrooms upstairs and four in the basement. A time remembered all to well for Harold Nelson. Harold went from sitting in the classroom to leading students as a teacher and then principal. Nelson says, “I had the best staff.”

Like Harold, it's not uncommon for staff at Rock River to stay for a long time. First grade teacher LuVenia Parham started in 1976. These next few weeks of teaching will be tough. Mrs. Parham said, “I'll miss the children and their families. The school has grown on me and I’ve grown with the building."

Over and over the bigger concern is what affect this closing will have on the kids. But hopefully the lesson's learned in these halls will stay with the children as they adjust to a new school. It's good to see that the same values teachers back in 1911 instilled in their rock river students continues to be taught today to the last class of 2004.