ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- We have a better idea of when we'll start to see school closures in the Rockford Public School District.
District 205 administrators spoke for the first time about three plans under the ten-year facilities project. At least seven schools are slated to close under each proposal but they could close up to nine. The changes are expected to start in the 2015-2016 school year and phase in over the next four to five years.
A lot of community members have questions and concerns about the closures. We spoke with a parent who has been through similar school closures in the past.
Angela Penticoff's son was a kindergartner at what used to be Summerdale Elementary School when she found out it was one of six schools closing in 2011.
"He was devastated because he had liked the kids that had gone there," said Penticoff.
School board member Jude Makulec was on the board that approved those previous closures and she's on the facilities task force that helped develop the current three plans.
"There was no process where there was involvement of a committee or the community, everything happened behind closed doors. This time all of our meetings were open meetings, they were all published," explains Makulec.
The district wants to close seven schools, and possibly two more; West View, Walker, King, Dennis Early Childhood Center, Kishwaukee, Thompson, Cherry Valley, and possibly Nelson and White Swan. Administrators say it's the right move.
"We feel really great that everyone will go into a significantly improved building with more resources or they'll go into a brand new building depending on what plan is selected," said Superintendent Dr. Ehren Jarrett.
The buildings that would shut down are either too old to repair or don't have enough students.
"We have a responsibility to the taxpayers of this community to utilize our resources the most efficient ways that we can. We have many schools that have 25-35% vacancy rates and that's not very efficient," says Ken Scrivano, school board president.
However Penticoff wasn't happy with the new building the district chose for her son when his school closed, so she enrolled him in a charter school.
Penticoff says, "I would check out the school that they have in mind to send your child."
This is a list of which students would move to which buildings if their schools close and which buildings would get additions:
Beyer Elementary School addition/renovation
Bloom Elementary School addition/renovation
Brookview Elementary School addition/renovation
Carlson Elementary School addition/renovation
** Cherry Valley Elementary School students rezoned to White Swan/New school in Plan C
Conklin Elementary School addition/renovation (one addition is already complete)
Ellis Elementary School renovation
Froberg Elementary School renovation (one addition is already complete)
Gregory Elementary School addition/renovation
Hillman Elementary School addition/renovation
Johnson Elementary School renovation (one addition is already complete)
** King Elementary School students rezoned to Washington
** Kishwaukee Elementary School students rezoned to Nelson in Plan A/New school in Plans B, C
Lathrop Elementary School renovation & school becomes Early Childhood Center/students rezoned to Washington (one addition is already complete)
Lewis Lemon Elementary School addition/renovation
Marsh Elementary School addition/renovation and school becomes Pre-K-8 Montessori. Students rezoned to Carlson
McIntosh Elementary School addition/renovation (one addition is already complete)
Nashold Elementary School renovation & school becomes Early Childhood Center/students rezoned to Swan Hillman, Riverdahl, Beyer
** Nelson Elementary School addition/renovation in Plan A/New school in Plans B, C
Riverdahl Elementary School addition/renovation
Rolling Green Elementary School renovation
Spring Creek Elementary School renovation (one addition is already complete)
** Thompson Elementary School students rezoned to Gregory Elementary
** Walker Elementary School students rezoned to Carlson, Welsh, Ellis
Welsh Elementary School addition/renovation
** West View Elementary School students rezoned to Conklin
** White Swan Elementary School addition/renovation in Plans A, B/New school in Plan C
Whitehead Elementary School addition/renovation
** Dennis Early Childhood Center closed; Early Childhood Centers housed at Fairview, Lathrop, Nashold and Summerdale
Maria Montessori School N. Rockton site will house 1-8 gifted program; Pre-K-8 Montessori program moves to Marsh.
Each plan (A, B, C) includes money in the budget for closed schools to be demolished/turned into green space, if they’re not sold.
While there are three plans, all of which involve 7 school closures, the plans could change. The facilities task force will gather input from the community and then make a recommendation to the school board.