Richland School Board wants to keep Jefferson Elementary open

<p>Jefferson Elementary School</p>

Jefferson Elementary School

The Richland School Board will likely keep Jefferson Elementary School open after all, after parents spoke out against the potential closure as part of an upcoming bond.

Last night, community members packed a Richland School Board meeting.

Dozens of people spoke for about an hour and a half about the proposed bond.

The original $98 million proposal has been to close Jefferson Elementary School and make it the new home of the district's Three Rivers HomeLink program, which is outgrowing its facility.

But many Jefferson parents want the school to stay open.

So now, board members are reconsidering the closure.

Parents say they're relieved.

"I'm very excited about that. I love this school, and my kids love this school, and I hope my youngest will be able to go to this school, and it's a great thing" said Jessica Littlewolf, parent.

Part the original bond proposal has also been to replace Lewis and Clark, Marcus Whitman and Sacajawea elementary schools with new, 64,000 square foot buildings.

But since the school district still needs a larger building for HomeLink's 400 students, board members are looking at cutting the funding for those three projects.

They're looking at reducing the size of those new buildings to 58,000 square feet.

The savings would go toward a new or renovated building for HomeLink on school district property.

That location has not yet been determined.

The Richland School Board will meet again next Tuesday night to continue their discussion.

Board members hope to have the revised bond proposal finalized by the end of the month.

The bond will be placed on the February ballot.