GREEN RIVER — The agenda item said the Sweetwater County School District No. 2 board would “consider” a recommendation from the superintendent to close Jackson Elementary School.
Then parents of Jackson students, including one who said he spoke for many parents, spoke at length against any closure vote Tuesday evening. Even Sweetwater No. 2 Superintendent Donna Little-Kaumo pulled back from voting on the recommendation. Board members then spoke about it being a fine and even excellent idea to hold off.
Then Board Member Corina Tynsky stepped forward, motioning to make a vote then and there.
Now, Jackson is closing, with at least four voting in favor, though Board Vice Chairman Steve Core cast an opposing vote.
Angela Jones was among two other parents who pointed out that information regarding the closure, from a presentation by Little-Kaumo, was new just that evening.
“The board has had this information a week,” Tynsky said. “We’re not seeing these numbers just tonight.”
In her motion, Tynsky also moved to save a “re-boundary determination for next time.” Board Treasurer John Malone seconded it.
Little-Kaumo, in her presentation that evening, claimed Truman Elementary got Title I funding because of location. But Ciera Birch, another parent, said she called the U.S. Department of Education the same day and was told Title I funding was based on student population. Title I funding is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and is designed to help students.
“(The closure) doesn’t just affect Jackson, it impacts the whole community,” Birch said.
Little-Kaumo offered a slideshow with data points and graphs on money saved by closing a different school versus Jackson and what redistricting would look like to save Jackson, respectively.
“It would have nice to have been brought this sooner, rather than the night (of) the vote,” Jones said.
At least a half-dozen claps directly followed that comment. There were also rounds of applause after Jones and Birch finished speaking. An estimated nine applauded Kye Kreusel, who said he spoke “on behalf of parents watching some of their kids.”
“I agree with everything these ladies have said,” Kruesel said. “A lot of the information presented tonight should have been at those public-outreach meetings.”
The district hosted three public hearings Oct. 17.
For more coverage, see Thursday’s edition of the Rocket-Miner.