With School District 68 announcing the closing of schools as part of their ten year plan parents of the Cedar community have decided to fight back to save their schools.
The plan calls for the closing of North Oyster Elementary, North Cedar Intermediate, and Woodbank Primary School. Cedar High School students are to be transferred to John Barsby High School and the high school building renovated to take on the elementary students from the schools to be closed.
The Save Cedar Schools group is formed of concerned parents, students, and citizens who are unhappy with the school board’s decision to close all of these schools and move the high school students from Cedar to John Barsby.
Stephanie Higginson of Save Cedar Schools said that although the group understands the district needs to fill seats in operating schools, the plan is greatly flawed and closing Cedars schools will have only negative impacts.
Higginson is a former high school teacher with a Masters Degree in educational studies. She is also the parent of a kindergarten student at Woodbank Primary. Higginson says that there are far better alternatives to filling schools and dealing with the Cedar situation. She said that there is worry that graduation rates will drop and more students will drop out if forced to go to John Barsby.
There is worry from parents and students that there will be a division between the students from Cedar and the Students from John Barsby as there have already been threats posted on Facebook.
Higginson said that moving the high school students out of Cedar will “decimate the community.” She said that the students will be hindered in their abilities to work after school jobs because they have to bus back to Cedar after school.
Higginson said that they were told this transition will provide more opportunities for the students from Cedar however the students who need to take the bus are unable to participate in extracurricular activities.
The group feels that the School Board did not consider the well being of the Cedar community. Higginson said that they feel they did everything legally but did the bare minimum to get this by.
Higgison said that the School Board has not been answering any questions directly and only through other media outlets. Cedar High graduate Chrissy Hayes said that many people felt that at the public meetings the people in attendance were treated in a condescending manner.
Hayes said that they felt like the meetings were just for show and the board did not intend on answering any ones questions. She does not want to see the schools closed because her youngest sister is going through them now. She said that her sister wants to graduate from the same school her two older sisters did.
Save Cedar Schools started a petition and received 1857 signatures in the first 24 hours and is now at 2600. Save Cedar Schools goal right now is to present alternative plans that do not negatively impact the cedar community in hopes that the board will overturn their decision to close the schools.
Higginson said that the community feels as though they are being targeted in hopes that not enough people will fight against it. She said that people need to realize that “if they do this here they can do it elsewhere.” Higginson said that it has been proven that smaller schools are more cost effective, have less drop outs and higher graduation rates.
The School Board was unable to answer any questions at this time.
For more information on the Save Cedar Schools organization you can visit them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SaveCedarSchools.