District to Parents: No school closures ... for now 

Officials from the Boise School District met with parents of local elementary school students last week to discuss the district's controversial "10-year master plan," which calls for closing several schools to help counterbalance a potential $5 million budget gap. According to district officials at the meetings, four targeted Boise schools-Monroe, Washington and Pierce Park elementaries, and Hillside Junior High-will stay open for now, and the district will seek other methods to raise funds and cut costs.

Parents at an April 7 meeting in the Washington library, many of whom have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed closures, presented handouts and a PowerPoint presentation to express their concerns, foremost of which was that the alleged "mass exodus" of students from the targeted schools was based on inaccurate enrollment numbers gathered by the educational planning firm DeJong. The parents also offered several proposals for sources of new funding, including partnering schools with local business sponsors, moving students from portable classrooms into low-population schools and putting a multimillion-dollar tax levy before voters to raise the funds. District officials including district Superintendent Stan Olson attended the meetings, which they called "listening sessions," in preparation of an upcoming community-wide meeting on April 28. In preparation of that meeting, BW will also have a news feature about the school closure debate in next week's issue. The April 28 meeting will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. at the District Services Center, 8169 W. Victory Road in Southwest Boise.

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