Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

March 5, 2012

Community asks school board to do anything possible to save school

By Krystal Fowler - Lifestyle editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — More than 70 people attended the Centerville School Board's first public hearing on possible cost saving measures held at Cincinnati Elementary Thursday evening.

Sixteen people spoke before the board, including former students, community members, parents of students and former students and others. On everyone's mind was the possibility that the School Board might decide to close Cincinnati Elementary.

Board President Nick Hindley read a statement before the speakers began outlining that the school board was considering closing both Cincinnati and Mystic Elementary schools due to both declining enrollment and receiving less funding. He reminded everyone that no decision would be made that night and that the final decision would be made at the regular board meeting on March 13.

Many of the speakers asked if the board had considered all cost saving measures besides closing schools, including cutting administrators, secretaries or coaches.

Former secretary Rosemary Logston, who worked at the school for 37 years, got emotional while asking the board to do anything possible to save the school.

"If there's anything you can do to keep from closing the school down, or Mystic, you don't know how much it would be appreciated," said Logston. "These little schools are so special. Everybody knows everybody. The kids get a lot of attention, which they need. They get a lot of love too. So I'd just like you to keep that in mind."

Several people also brought up the fact that they were very worried about children being in larger classes if they were moved to Centerville and also brought up the fact that many parents were considering open enrolling there children to other school districts rather than going to Centerville if the school was closed. And that this would cause the school district to lose even more money.

"My daughter just started to attend this school this year actually, and there has been dramatic changes in my daughter," Tasha Henderson. "This is the time their foundation is being set for their future and I as a parent am not going to jeopardize my children's future because our school can't afford to provide them with quality education. There are other surrounding schools that can. And I do feel that that is a big approach that a lot of us parents are going to take...My daughter needs to be in a small class..."

Board president Hindley thanked all the speakers and attendees for coming to the hearing before adjourning. The board members did not respond to any questions or concerns during the public hearing, but took notes to respond later. The next public hearing will be held tonight in Centerville at 6 p.m. and the final public hearing will be held in Mystic at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.