School board postpones vote on future of Marquette Elementary

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — On Monday evening, the Harlem School Board was set to vote on whether or not to consolidate local schools but the decision will wait for another night.

The board postponed the “Facilities Utilization Plan” until further research can be completed.

If the school closes, 1st through 3rd grade students would move to Machesney Elementary, which currently teaches grades 4th through 6th.

Machesney Elementary 6th graders would transfer to Harlem Middle School to make room for the influx of new students.

School officials voiced their concerns with the big change, citing some middle school kids might not be emotionally ready to be around older students, and could be bullied.

“You know, they’re still young minds and I think when we put them ahead with the seventh graders, there could be some seventh graders that come in and influence them, bully them…I just don’t think they’re ready for that,” said Evelyn Meeks, the school board secretary.

The board continued their meeting behind closed doors to discuss further details.

There’s no word on when the vote could take place, but at least four members say they are opposed to closing the school.

If it were passed, the Marquette building would be transformed into a district health clinic.

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