New Smyrna Beach, FL – Projections of stagnant enrollment and budget concerns has Volusia County Schools debating whether or not to keep a New Smyrna Beach elementary school open.
A community meeting about the future of Reed-Pattillo Elementary took place last night inside the school’s cafeteria.
Volusia County Schools Planner Saralee Morrissey outlined several options under consideration by the district, including keeping things as is, building a replacement campus at a different site or closing the school permanently, sending its students to nearby schools instead.
If that happens, it would likely be after the new Chisholm Elementary School is built, but many at the meeting pleaded with district officials not to go that route.
“As a former teacher, I am asking you to keep Reed-Pattillo [open],” said Liz McDuffie. “As a parent, I am begging you, and as a voter, I am demanding it because my baby is important. Reed-Pattillo is important.”
Many of the parents at the meeting were concerned about crowding so many children into Chisholm, feeling that a school with around 900 kids enrolled would cause major safety issues, especially with traffic.
Others suggested closing another school instead, with several offering up Coronado Beach Elementary as an option.
Afterward, VCS Superintendent Thomas Russell said that the people that showed up gave them more to think about.
“This is a neighborhood school,” Russell added. “[You can see] just how important it is to the people [who showed up]. They want what’s best for their child.”
Another community meeting will likely take place after the school year begins, with the topic set to go in front of the School Board soon afterward for a final decision.