DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – A proposal from the Derby school district is causing some controversy.
The school board is considering closing two of the district’s oldest elementary schools as part of its $88 million master plan.
“I was really upset about it. I was like why? I grew up here, this is where I made my friends. This is where I found myself?”
David Romo, 15, is upset to hear that his former elementary school, Cooper, might soon close.
Derby school officials held a meeting Tuesday, explaining the district’s master plan proposal. Those with concerns could submit them in writing.
“I’m very mad about it, because there’s a lot of good staff here that deserve to stay here, that make changes in different kids,” said Romo.
“A little bit of shock of course like everyone else, I think. A little nostalgia creeps in and you get a little sad,” says Andrea Icenhour, and employee and former student at Cooper.
Officials say both Cooper and Pleasantview Elementary are in serious need of security, maintenance, and parking lot upgrades. The Derby Planning Committee studied the issue for the district and concluded it doesn’t make financial sense to keep the schools open.
“We talked about what it would cost to bring them up to those standards versus what would it cost to create a new facility, and time and time again it didn’t make fiscal sense,” said Lisa Woolsey, a member of the Derby Planning Committee.
If the school board does decide to close Pleasantview, it would increase capacity and the number of classrooms at Park Hill, Derby Hills, and El Paso Elementary. If Cooper is closed, the district would expand Oaklawn Elementary into four sections.
“We wanted to make sure that no one student had a facility that was far superior to another student’s facility,” said Woolsey.
Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell was also at the meeting and says he’s concerned about the safety of kids who would have to walk across 47th street to get to Oaklawn Elementary if Cooper closes.
Howell says he’s already working on safer sidewalks and crosswalks for students.
The school board will decide the next step at their February meeting.