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Published April 27, 2010, 09:38 PM

Parents Concerned About Possible School Closures

A consultant is recommending the Grand Forks School Board shut down two of its north-end elementary schools.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

A consultant is recommending the Grand Forks School Board shut down two of its north-end elementary schools. But this isn't sitting too well with some parents. Parents say there is still a need to keep the West Elementary and Wilder Elementary open. They say moving their kids to bigger schools would mean less opportunities for them.

"I think they should keep the school open!" said Angel Roed.

Roed's daughter goes to Wilder Elementary School. She says as a kid she dealt with school closures, and she doesn't want the same thing for her daughter.

"It's kind of hard to sit there and have her get used to one school and then turn around and go to another school," said Roed.

After a five and a half month study on the Grand Forks school district, a consulting firm suggested the school board shut down Wilder Elementary School and West Elementary School as soon as possible to save money. But some parents question the study itself.

"I just don't think they have enough data, especially demographic data. I really believe they need some better demographic numbers," said Justin Berry.

The study looked at the student numbers for each school, the building size, and the costs. The firm suggested that shutting down the schools would increase cost effectiveness, but some parents say doing this would hurt the kids.

"Maybe even find different friends and he probably won't have the one on one like how they do with the teachers here," said Billie Grant.

Although the firm says shutting down the small schools would save money, some parents say the smallness is exactly what they like about them.

"Every teacher and staff member knows the names of every kid in the school and I think they get a lot of attention that they may not get at a larger school," said Berry.

Grand Forks Superintendent Larry Nybladh says there are no immediate plans to shut down the schools in the coming year. There would have to be a process to get the community's input first. He says the soonest it could happen would be for the 2011-2012 school year.