Changes Coming for Students after Decision to Close Schools

The St. Joseph School District Board of Education decided on Monday to close the doors of Lake Contrary and Humboldt Elementary Schools.

Posted: Dec. 13, 2017 8:38 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The battle between one south side school and another has finally come to an end. The St. Joseph School District Board of Education decided on Monday to close the doors of Lake Contrary and Humboldt Elementary Schools.

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While those who attend Hyde Elementary are breathing a sigh of relief, others are expressing their concern.

"Everyone else tonight is on the losing side. The approximately 1,700 employees, and most heart-wrenching the over 11,000 students who come to our building," Lori Witham, Truman Middle School teacher, said at Monday's Board of Education meeting.

Superintendent Robert Newhart said he stands behind the school board's decision as the district prepares to move forward.

The changes mean future sixth grade students will now be in middle school rather than elementary school.

"I think it'll be a change for them at first, but I think that once it sets in we'll see better academic and performance results with our middle grades being together," Newhart said.

Students going into sixth grade next year who currently attend Lake, Hosea and Hyde Elementary will go to Spring Garden Middle School. Those who currently attend Humboldt and Lindbergh will go to Robidoux Middle School. 

Some elementary students will also have to face a change next school year. Kindergarden through fifth grade students currently at Humboldt will go to Lindbergh, and K-5 students currently at Lake Contrary will go to Hosea.

However, this is raising the question of rooms available in each school to house an extra 100 or so kids. The short term plan for the district is adding a modular unit, or separate facility, to Lindbergh, and three modular units to Hosea to accommodate extra students.

Some parents brought up concerns of safety of these modular units, Newhart responded by saying the units will be close to the main buildings and will be secured.

"We'll ensure the best safety that we can under these circumstances," Newhart said.

Newhart said the long term goal for the district will include renovations to certain school buildings to add extra space.

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