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Stateline Community Reacts To Potential RPS Closures

Rockford’s school closing plan is coming under more fire, some believe closing neighborhood schools after voters passed a major bond issue, is a betrayal of the public's trust.
ROCKFORD – With District 205 leaders planning to close up to nine elementary schools, some taxpayers say they feel betrayed by the district, after voting in favor of the $139 million dollar referendum two years ago. “It’s upsetting to me as a tax payer that they continue to make these bad decisions, and they say what about the children?” said Julie Vaughn, a concerned tax payer who also has five grandchildren in the Rockford Public Schools.  Jeanne Westholder, a former member of the Rockford school board agrees “I think people passed that referendum thinking their school was going to be improved, when in fact their were plans to close schools that is what is surprising people.”

Tax payers still have many questions for the Rockford Public School district, like why are they shutting down current elementary schools, but building million dollar additions, like at Auburn high school, which will be done in the fall. It is going to be a $13 million dollar sports complex. Vaugn said those are unreasonable funds “Made it all these years without it, put the money back into the children.”

Westholder understands parent’s frustrations, and recalls the last time the district closed down schools. “In the last process, they asked a lot of questions, I hope that it will happen again. We need proactivity about what are going to be the negative unintended consequences, what is the true impact on what segments of our community.”

District leaders say the plan to close and consolidate schools is in the best interest of students, but others in the community want to see the data supporting that. “I have questions about where we are closing schools, why are we closing schools there, I have questions about why we are moving the gifted program out of the newly renovated school that we spent an excess of 1.5 million revamping.” Said Westholder.
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