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Parents react to Caldwell School District's plans to close Lincoln Elementary

Posted at 6:07 PM, May 31, 2024

CALDWELL, Idaho — After a failed levy, the Caldwell School District is making tough decisions to cut staff and close a school. Idaho News 6 spoke to multiple parents in-person and online to get their reaction to the school closure and budget cuts.

  • Parents say they are "frustrated" and "blindsided" by the cuts.
  • The district says they don't make the changes lightly.
  • The CSD board of trustees will be holding a special meeting on Monday, June 3, 2024, at 6 pm to address the changes and discuss the budget reductions. A livestream of the meeting will be available here.

(Below is the transcript from the broadcast story)

“My kids love this school,” said April Sweeney, president of Lincoln Elementary’s Parent Teacher Organization. She and other families are frustrated their kids' school is set to close.

“We’re disappointed in how things were handled. We are disappointed in their processes and why if it was so important that this was a functional levy, instead of a supplemental levy, why not stress that?” said Sweeney.

LEARN MORE | Caldwell School District closing facilities, shrinking programs following failed supplementary levy

Multiple parents I spoke to say there was a lack of communication from the district, before the primary election, about the importance of the levy.

“There was no education on the funding that needed to be happening, and they are not here for the parents, the kids, the teachers and educators, and that’s the most important thing,” said Carissa Lamb, a parent of a Lincoln Elementary student.

The district communication director Jessica Watts says, “there definitely was communication that went out to families electronically, social media and fliers and things like that.”

Patrick Maltsberger tells me he has yet to break the news to his three kids, “they’re going to be devastated.”

He was on the committee comprised of parents and teachers to pick a new principal for Lincoln just weeks ago.

“I don’t know if it got the board, I don’t know if they approved it. I do know she put in her resignation at her last job,” said Maltsberger.

Parents also upset about the lack of transparency when it comes to board meeting discussions.

“Those are all open to the public and they’re live-streamed. But there are things called ‘executive sessions' that are closed to the public,” said Watts.

Besides the scheduled closure of Lincoln Elementary, cuts will be made to district staff, school resources officers, and transportation to activities and athletic events.

As for the teachers at Lincoln, the district tells me they’re being offered positions at other schools, and they don't know yet what will happen to the building.