Beloit community divided over middle school shutdowns
BELOIT, Wis. (WIFR) - A decision to shut down two schools in the Beloit School District has caused a major divide between board leaders and families in the community.
Now, several parents are voicing their concerns and frustrations. Board members and parents speak on Tuesday about the shutdowns and what the future holds for the district.
Sean Leavy, the Beloit School District Board President, says nearly 260 middle school students are spread across four separate schools. He says now is the time to make smarter budget and resource decisions.
“We’re working with people; we’re working with schools that are the heart of our community, but we also have to position ourselves for the future,” says Leavy.
But not everyone in the community agrees with Leavy’s perspective.
Donna Brinkley is a parent in the Beloit School District and she believes the shutdown of the middle schools in her neighborhood will cause significant social and transportation issues. She says it only takes her daughter less than a minute to get to school, but once this decision goes into effect, everything will change.
“Right now, she can walk across the street from the school because we literally see the school from our front yard, but now they’re proposing I driver her 15 minutes, on a good day, to school,” Brinkley notes.
The district plans to shut down Cunningham and McNeel Intermediate Middle Schools located on the west side of the city. All sixth, seventh and eighth graders will then attend two schools on the east side of Beloit.
Leavy says the decision wasn’t made lightly and hopes the community can put their differences aside and work together to ensure the academic success and personal growth of each student.
“How do we best serve the citizens, the students and the families, honor the past, but still take steps that are going to prepare us and set us up for the good future of our students so they have all the experiences and best outcomes as possible,” Leavy says.
In terms of next steps, Leavy notes there are still legal obligations the district must fulfill, but parents can expect more communication about transportation services and different school options in the near future.
He says the district’s superintendent is in communication with staff at each school and the board is always open to receiving feedback.
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