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Parents raise concerns over potential elementary school closure

Posted at 8:52 AM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 18:53:36-04

BOISE, Idaho — At an informational night for parents, Owyhee parents bring up questions and concerns regarding the school's potential transition from an elementary school to an early childhood learning center.

  • Owyhee Elementary could potentially transition into an Early Childhood Learning Center in the 2025-2026 school year
  • Parents raise questions and concerns about enrollment boundaries and communication between the district and families
  • There will be another parent meeting on Tuesday, May 7th at 6:00pm at Owyhee Elementary. On the 13th parents will have the opportunity to speak to the board about their concerns over the potential changes

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

Parents in this Boise Bench neighborhood rely on sending their kids to Owyhee Elementary School for K-6 grade. But soon, Owyhee Elementary could transition into an early childhood learning center. I'm your Boise Bench Neighborhood Reporter Jessica Davis, finding out what that means, as parents get answers at a public meeting.

“The following year, Owyhee Elementary will be converted from a traditional K to 6 elementary school to an early childhood learning center,” said Becca Anderson, Borah High Quadrant Area Director.

Parents filled the library at Owyhee Elementary to discuss different topics related to the school's transition.

Candace Demeester is a parent of an Owyhee Elementary school student, she said, “I think that it's a necessary transition to take place. We definitely need to have more early education centers. I'm amazed that we've survived on the one as long as we have, so I'm very excited about the next one.”

Many parents agree that an early childhood learning center is needed, however, at what cost?

"If they do close the school, which it already sounds like they've decided unofficially that they're going to do. What does that mean for us next year? They don't have any answers for that. We've already missed the open enrollment window, so if we wanted to send our kids to a specific school it's probably too late,” said Angela Wimer, also an Owyhee parent.

This transition will affect enrollment boundaries. The district will redraw the boundaries to include Owyhee families, meaning possibly more teachers and classrooms at surrounding schools to accommodate the increase in students.

“A couple of these schools may already be in need of extra support so they're not seeing when they already should've been seeing them. Will we be seeing extra supports now that we'll be getting more kids in these schools?” said Demeester.

District administration stressed to parents that this change won't be happening this upcoming school year, but if passed by the district, Owyhee will convert into an early learning center in the 2025 - 2026 school year.

Demeester continued, "I think that I'm right in between Hillcrest and Whitney. We are a stone throws away from Owyhee so there isn't an easy choice for us because the easiest choice was going to be Owyhee otherwise, it's going to be a bus ride for us no matter what.”

Wimer added, “I've got a map now of our school areas so we're going to put together a petition we're going to put up some flyers and start knocking on doors because again I don't feel like this was communicated very thoroughly to our community and now, we got a week and a half to get it together.”

On May 13, the Boise School Board of Trustees will talk about new boundary changes and hear concerns from parents.

This was the first of two parent meetings that will be held at Owyhee Elementary. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, May 7th, at 6 p.m.