Wichita School Board members approve a plan to close five Wichita school buildings and redraw boundary lines.
"I understand the passion, frustration and sadness that comes with a school closing," said board member Lanora Nolan.
The board voted 7-0 in favor of closing Northeast Magnet High School, Emerson Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Mueller Elementary, and Bryant Elementary. Northeast Magnet will be moved to the new high school in Bel Aire.
Under the new plan, all high school students will be grandfathered in to allow them to stay at their current school.
No middle or elementary school students will be grandfathered and will be subject to the new boundaries. Students wishing to stay at their current school would have to apply for a special transfer.
"It's difficult and I know there will be some people who are unhappy, but we don't have another choice and this is the best we have at this time," said board member Barb Fuller.
There were 17 people who addressed the board Monday night. Many were parents who expressed more concern and frustration over the plan to close the schools.
"I'm choosing to leave 259. It's not a decision I wanted to make but you're forcing me into. You're pushing me out the door," said mother Charity Chapman.
"Even though I don't agree with the final decision, it's clear to me that this board cares about the students, the parents and the tax payers of this area," said Bel Aire Council member Moe Terrebonne.
The meeting was suspended for a short time when about a dozen audience members stood up and began chanting. The crowd chanted "We the people stand united in solidarity against closing our schools and to demand the Kansas budget surplus be used to fund education."
Board members exited the room while police and school security removed the audience members from the room.
The meeting started shortly after and before a vote was taken board members explained to the audience that it was not an easy decision, but one forced on the district because of economic conditions.
"This isn't about politics, this is about the future of my 6 year-old baby girl," said mother Megan Pfingsten.