Emotional plea to keep Redlands elementary school open

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - As School District 51 mulls future budget cuts, one local community is making an emotional plea -- don't close our school.

There wasn't an empty seat -- and virtually no standing room -- at the Basil T. Knight Tuesday night as nearly 100 parents, students, teachers, and other members of the Scenic Elementary community packed the school board meeting.

"You can't replace Scenic," said Jenny Hall, PTO President at Scenic Elementary. "There's no other place like Scenic. It's a big community and we're a family."

School District 51 says its funding picture for the next few years is not looking good, which means it will probably have to make more cuts down the road. As they move forward, officials say they will have to take factors such as enrollment into consideration, potentially making cuts in the places where there are fewer students.

Earlier this month, district staff identified the three Redlands elementary schools as places that have seen significant drops in enrollment. Of the three, Scenic has the fewest students.

"It's not going to be an easy decision to make," said Board Member Cindy Enos-Martinez. "I don't know when we'll make a decision, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us before that's even made."

The board says it will continue to explore any and all options and stresses that school closures are not a done deal at this point.

"You're affecting students, you're affecting families, you're affecting the community, and you're affecting the staff," said Enos-Martinez. "It's a very difficult decision and nothing we really like doing."

With tears in their eyes, members of the crowd told the school board about Scenic's outstanding performance record, how its unique open layout improves the learning experience, and how it's dedicated staff and parent volunteers have made it one of the top "school of choice" schools in the Valley, among other things. They just hope their stories got through to board members and continue to get through to them as they make decisions in the future.

"It's emotional to think that there's something that's a legacy that might one day no longer be here," said former Scenic student Hannah Martinez. "I think it's really important to everybody."

District officials say whatever path the discussions take, they plan to keep it a very open process and communicate with anyone that could be impacted.

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  • by Kenya on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:29 AM
    Maybe the school enrollment is down because it used to be one of the better schools in the redlands and now is not. Parents are makeing better choices for thier children and putting students in the schools that really make the difference. You can only blow so much smoke before people see a fire....
    • reply
      by Disgusted on Jun 22, 2011 at 12:06 PM in reply to Kenya
      Maybe enrolment is down because people are fleeing The Peoples Republic of Mesa County as fast as they can for America.......
  • by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 at 05:59 AM
    maybe this will be what causes some of these parents to look around at things like: schools, justice center, roads, etc....and say: "wait a minute, we've paid for these and owned them free and clear. Why are we always paying more on them? Is this some sort of con?"
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 at 09:24 AM in reply to
      Wow - I cannot believe you said that. Of course you have to continue to pay for buildings and other things that you "own free and clear." Just like your house, your car, your computer, etc. you have annual maintenance costs, plus payroll for your staff, utilities, etc.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM in reply to
        Thank you big government worker. Now please advise us on where our taxes go. We have gas tax, sales tax, vehicle registration tax, road tax etc....all this after we paid for the items. Then in many cases, government will sell it to a private company (their friend) for a toll road. At some point, even an apologist like you must face reality. Taxes are higher than ever, we are getting less and less in return.
        • reply
          by Wake up on Jun 22, 2011 at 07:40 PM in reply to
          Taxes are not that high as you think; wake up. http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2011-05-05-tax-cut-record-low_n.htm
        • reply
          by JC on Jun 22, 2011 at 07:49 PM in reply to
          Wow anonymous, you are certainly clueless as to the amount of taxes Americans pay. Try moving to Canada or Europe. Here's a thought: to love a certain standard of living, things cost money. http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/taxes/2011-05-05-tax-cut-record-low_n.htm
        • reply
          by JC on Jun 22, 2011 at 08:10 PM in reply to
          Sorry it posted twice, my 2-year old had her way with my computer for a minute and I didn't know the first one posted.
      • reply
        by Just like the justice center on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:03 AM in reply to
        We owned the justice center free n clear. Are you telling me the monthly millions they rake in via fines, costs and penalties. Was not enough? They had to go and pawn it for 18 million? Wake up. They are just kicking the can until this whole thing implodes. Then a bunch of people who made up some money out if thin air and assigned it value will end up owning all the real stuff in the world.
  • by Amanda Stewart Location: Jacksonville, NC on Jun 22, 2011 at 05:05 AM
    This is so tragic. I am currently in NC and have been fighting a horrible custody battle. One of the main things that has been brought up in my court hearing was Scenic Elem. because my children attended before we had to come back here and the schools here offer nothing like Scenic did. My daughter looks forward to coming back to Scenic everyday that she has to go to school here. We have fought for 4 yrs to come back to that school and I pray that since we are able to come back this summer that Scenic is left open for her and my future grandchildren! Please keep us informed as to what we may be able to do as a community, whether we are near or far. Take care and God bless.
    • reply
      by Disgusted on Jun 22, 2011 at 07:25 AM in reply to Amanda Stewart
      Sorry Amanda, the Democrats destroyed the economy. We will be lucky if any schools stay open period.
  • by Incredulous on Jun 22, 2011 at 03:48 AM
    This is the gang that can't shoot straight. Just a few years ago staff report after staff report talked about overcrowding and how it negitively effects the quality of education. Now these same staff are producing reports that lead the board to look at closing schools...some of the historically best performing in the district. The board would do well to look very closely at these administrative staff positions and make "a very difficult decision and nothing we really like doing." It would go a long way in restoring some trust and credibility among the citizens.
    • reply
      by Linda on Jun 23, 2011 at 07:27 AM in reply to Incredulous
      I'm 100% in favor of dumping the entire system and replacing the few people that are truly NEEDED in this piece of garbage, quasi-governmental body and starting from scratch with WELL-QUALIFIED people running it. Toss in a PERSONAL PERFORMANCE BOND on any and all candidates to the board where if the crap they toss out is later proven to be just another "Pie in the sky" boondoggle, the Taxpayers get their money back and the board members responsible lose their asses instead of the taxpayers.
  • by Disgusted Location: Ritterville on Jun 21, 2011 at 11:46 PM
    Thanks Bill, Thanks Barry, Thanks Ken.....appreciate it greatly.
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