Community weighs in on closing Morehouse Elementary

By Christy Millweard - bio | email

MOREHOUSE, MO (KFVS) - The Sikeston School Board heard both sides of the arguments Monday night: should or shouldn't they close Morehouse Elementary?

Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller explained why he thinks it is a good idea financially for the district to close the school.

But Morehouse parents and residents disagree.

"You take the school, you're going to take the town," said Morehouse parent Jack Hays.

That was a common theme from people in Morehouse at the School Board meeting Monday night.

"You're not just closing a school, you're closing a community," said Morehouse alum Tamara Draper.

But it's a closure that Borgsmiller says might be necessary in a time of shrinking budgets.

He says the school is under utilized, needs restructuring due to No Child Left Behind regulations, and if it's closed, could save the district between $300,000 and $500,000.

"I didn't really have much of a choice but recommend that for [the school board's] consideration," said Borgsmiller.

Borgsmiller says there are three legs in a decision like this. Two of them he can present to the school board: finances and quality of education. He says the third, is the effect on the community. Borgsmiller says that has to come from the citizens of Morehouse.

"That's what they have to do, and they just have to do it well I hope," said Borgsmiller.

That's exactly what they're doing.

"Support us to keep our school open," said Draper.

"It's going to mean our kids lose and adequate education being corralled into a school where they're going from a small, moderate classroom with one-on-one education, into a classroom where you don't get the one-on-one education," said Hays.

"I believe that it would be unacceptable for the foundation of my son's schooling, I believe he needs a strong foundation and he gets it here," said Morehouse parent Dianna Dowdy.

"Take a look at our school, take a look at our community, see if we deserved to be closed," said Draper.

That decision, if the school does deserve to be closed, is now up to the Sikeston School Board.

The board will weigh in on the issue, and vote at the meeting on May 4th.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.