FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) – Findlay school board members approved a plan Monday night to consolidate schools and close Washington Intermediate School.
Many Washington parents said the administration is not putting the children first.
Parents and students attended the school board meeting Monday night in tee shirts that announced their love for their school.
Washington currently houses third, fourth and fifth grades, but when it's closed next fall, Kindergarten through third-grade students will go to Jacobs and Northview Schools. Fourth and fifth grades will attend Bigelow Hill School.
"Why would you close that school?" asked Sarah Hartman, a parent whose daughter will have to change schools next year. "It's comprised of mostly low-income, at poverty or below poverty-level children who are on the reduced or free lunch program…They're the ones that are going to get the short end of the stick. That's sad because it's [the board's] job to do what's best for them, not what's best for you."
Another parent, Steve Doncyson, said his children feel at home in their school and want to stay.
But the board members voted unanimously to turn Washington Intermediate into a preschool and new home for school administrators.
The board and superintendent said the consolidation will save the district $200,000 each year and was necessary because of declining enrollment. The district has lost over 750 students over the last 10 years.
"If a building had to be closed or reconfigured, which building needed to have that process and would do the least harm to the least amount of students and staff?" asked Dr. Dean Wittwer, Findlay Superintendent. "That was the whole decision we made."
After the vote, Wittwer made a teary-eyed announcement that he was retiring. He said it is not related to the vote, but he may stay on for one more year to help the schools transition.