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Rockford Public School Board votes to close Wilson Aspire school

Published: Dec. 8, 2020 at 10:14 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A 5 to 1 vote from the Rockford Public School Board closes the doors to Wilson Aspire School at the end of the school year. The one no, board member Michael Connor who was hoping to table the vote until January.

“In order to give time for parents, staff, and anyone community that wanted to propose other things, to have their time of feedback with the administration I wanted to delay this vote,” Connor said

Ultimately, the decision came down to one key question posed by school board president Kenneth Scrivano.

“What is better for our students that fall into this category being in a restricted environment like Wilson Aspire or a less restrictive experience like at a zone school?” Scrivano said.

Executive Director of Special Education Jennifer Lawrence believes RPS 205 schools improved when it comes to special education, and says special needs students can receive a quality educational experience in a zone school.

“My opinion follows ideal rules and regulations that the least restrictive environment is the environment that you choose for the students,” Lawrence said.

Diane Boone’s son Nills is a student at Wilson Aspire. Diane says her son’s academic performance improved drastically when he started at Wilson Aspire and losing that could be devastating for him.

“There was a big difference for our son when he went there,” Lawrence said. “It’s just a special group of kids that need a little extra support that I’m concerned, they’re not going to be able to get back at their home school.”

Closing the school free’s up just over one million dollars in funds, but board members say the move is not about money.

The school district believes each student’s individual educational plan, will be crucial for students who will transition out of Wilson Aspire school. Which school they’ll go to next is dependent on each student’s personal needs.

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