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GBAPS superintendent asks school board to vote on closing Wequiock Elementary in two weeks

Posted at 8:03 AM, Aug 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-15 09:20:22-04

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — Green Bay Area Public School District Superintendent Claude Tiller, Jr., asked the Board of Education to vote on the resolution of closing Wequiock Elementary School and shift its students to Red Smith School — a 4K-8 school — at a work session Monday.

Wequiock Elementary is located in the Town of Scott in Northeastern Brown County. The school focuses on environmental science and is the only public school in the town.

Red Smith is situated on Green Bay's far east side.

In an update to the school board, Tiller said the district is determined to move forward with providing environmental learning at Red Smith beginning in the 2024-25 school year.

"All city agreements have been documented to ensure that Red Smith students can and use Red Smith city park for educational purposes," Tiller said.

A district memo explains that closing Wequiock would save the district about $883,000 per year.

In May, a facilities task force recommended to the school board that Wequiock be closed.

The school board voted for administration to develop a plan to shut down Wequiock, and move its student population to Red Smith a month later.

"Regardless of the choice made, I ask that the board to carefully consider the consequences and resolutions no matter how small they may appear," Wequiock parent Leah Weakley said during public forum.

Weakley said she is redirecting her efforts to understand how Wequiock's learning program is integrated into Red Smith.

"It is such an important aspect of the advancement of environmental science and hands-on learning in the district," Weakley said. "This school has become our community. Our children are enduring the repercussions of this chaotic procedure."

Leonardo da Vinci School for Gifted Learners — a K-8 school — was another school recommended by the facilities task force to close. The committee's proposal was to move da Vinci into Webster Elementary, an integrated arts school.

But the school board appeared to go in a different direction with da Vinci, and keep it open as it is.

Board members agreed having da Vinci stay open doesn't cost money.

"There's no real push to leave," board member Andrew Becker said. "There are some people who see the advantages of Webster. There would almost certainly, I think, be more greatly dissatisfied people if it moved than if it didn't move."

"I think da Vinci is doing just fine where it is," board member Lynn Gerlach said. "I would like to take da Vinci off the proposal, leave them alone, and make good, good use of Webster school."

Board President Laura McCoy told her colleagues to consider the idea of keeping da Vinci before possibly coming up with a vote at a later date.

The school board's next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 28.