On Monday evening, what many in the community had feared, became reality. In front of a packed room, the Fort Wayne Community School Board of Trustees unanimously voted to close both Elmhurst High School and Pleasant Center Elementary School. The decision came as part of the Board’s measures to cut a required $15 million from school system’s budget. In addition to the school closures, the Board also voted on other measures to reach the $15 million in cuts. These include:
-91 teaching positions being eliminated
-Ending most summer school sessions
-Cutting central office positions
-Reducing various district budgets
-Changes in the custodial services (not yet negotiated)
The vote to close Elmhurst elicited tearful reactions from many in attendance. It was clear the decision was not an easy one as members of the Board shared their sympathies with parents and students and thanked those from the community who fought to save the school. Board President Mark GiaQuinta reassured those distraught by the closures that this was a very unfortunate, but necessary decision for the greater good of the Fort Wayne community and its schools. Unfortunately for FWCS and the community, the tough decisions are not over. The Board will need to make an additional $8 million worth of cuts for the 2011 budget and an estimated $3 million for 2012.
As of next year, new boundaries will take affect and current Elmhurst students will attend classes at Northrop, North Side, South Side or Wayne high schools. Students that attend Pleasant Center will either be assigned to Harrison Hill or Waynedale elementary schools.
Although the closing of Elmhurst High School is for many, a very sad and difficult situation to handle, those affected should take this challenge and attempt to turn it positive. Students past and present should remember all the good times they had as Trojans. Those students attending new schools with new people next year will hopefully be welcomed with open arms and should take the opportunity to make new friends and create new positive memories while still keeping their Trojan pride.
The Waynedale News wishes all of the students and their families the best of luck in the near future with all the challenges that the closures present.
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