Richland parents stand up against possible elementary school closure

<p>Jefferson Elementary School</p>

Jefferson Elementary School

Several parents in one Richland neighborhood are hoping the school district's proposed $98 million bond to build and renovate several schools doesn't pass.

The parents say they want to protect Jefferson Elementary School, which would close and be re-purposed if the bond passes.

The proposed bond would turn Jefferson Elementary into the new home of the school district's home school program.

Right now, Three Rivers HomeLink is run out of a church that the school district leases annually.

Educators say the HomeLink program is growing and they can't adequately serve its 400 students because there is not enough space, and the program is expected to grow - so administrators propose moving it to Jefferson.

But many parents say they don't want that to happen.

"We've been here for a long time and it's a great family and I would hate to see it go. And I would hate to see all the kids and teachers be disbursed" said Melissa Blacketer, parent.

"Im not happy with it. I think Jefferson's a great school and I think it's an asset to our neighborhood, and I really think it would be a shame if they closed down Jefferson" said Kristin Coffman, parent.

In addition to re-purposing Jefferson Elementary, the proposed bond would also pay for a new elementary school and a new middle school.

It would also pay for the replacement of three other elementary schools.

District administrators say Jefferson Elementary was chosen as the school to be re-purposed, because the other three elementary schools are all beyond their life capacity at more than 40 years, and they need to be completely replaced and rebuilt.