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Boise School District clarifies Owyhee Elementary's possible transition

Posted at 7:00 PM, May 10, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 21:00:10-04

  • On April 19th, Boise School District released a statement announcing the transition of Owyhee Elementary from a K-6 to an Early Childhood Learning Center.
  • On May 9th, the District released another statement clarifying that if this transition takes place it won't be until the school year 2025-2026.
  • Monday at 6:00 pm the Boise School District the Board of Trustees will hear parent concerns and discuss potential boundary timelines for local students.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Owyhee Elementary on the Boise Benchserves students from kindergarten through sixth grade, but, if the Boise School District gets its way, it'll transition into an Early Childhood Learning Center in 2025.

I’m your Boise Bench Neighborhood Reporter Jessica Davis and I’ve been covering this story for you since the beginning of the month when parents expressed frustrations with school district messaging, making it seem like the switch was a done deal.

Now, they're addressing those concerns and clarifying the process which, as it turns out, is far from over.

"I mean to me it still sounds like they're closing Owyhee Elementary,” says Angela Wimer.

One of Angela Wimer‘s six kids is currently enrolled at Owyhee Elementary.

Like other parents in the neighborhood, Angela found out on April 19th, that the Boise School District wants to turn their kids' elementary school into an Early Childhood Learning Center.

The District is now clarifying the process after their original messaging, didn't sit well with many parents.

Wimer says, “It is very misleading all of because all of those parents like me read the email and say well this is what they're doing.”

In that initial April announcement, the district said the school "will be converted" and "beginning with the 2025-2026 school year", adding that they'll take steps to prepare families for the change.

“From all the communication that I've had with the district administration and the board of trustees that this decision has been made. Now they're back peddling because we've called them out for not operating with the kind of transparency that we expect,” says Wimer.

New this week, a new release, with new language.

This time clarifying that the decision has yet to be made by the board of trustees and parent input will be considered.

Earlier this week I asked Becca Anderson with the school district, why Owyhee Elementary?

She says they considered its location one of the highest areas in demand of care for younger kids and they did consider other options.

“It is definitely an issue to finding a space to build a brand-new school and that was one of the things we did look at,” says Becca Anderson.

A lot of the parents I've talked to agree an Early Childhood Learning Center is needed in the area, but they want to be more involved in the decision.

“I want to know what demographics and projections they're basing their plans on, I want to see what other options they've explored and I want to know where they are sending these kids?” Angela Wimer says.

Angela and other parents have been petitioning and putting yard signsout to educate other neighbors ahead of the district's board meeting where public testimony will be taken.

Wimer says, “I'm going to be there and I'm going to speak up because I believe in this community and I believe that there are some really brilliant minds in this community and we don't all feel qualified to sit on these boards, but we voted for people we thought would stand up for the best interests of the students and their education.”

On Monday at 6:00 pm at the district office, the board of trustees will be talking a lot about boundaries and where students will be going, and hearing from parents about their feelings on this possible change. We will continue following this for you as we have been, and I'll be there on Monday to bring you the latest report.