COLLINSVILLE — Twin Echo Elementary will not be closed, and any plans to redraw school boundaries will wait at least another year.
The Unit 10 school board decided Monday not to pursue the proposal of closing Twin Echo Elementary and turning it into an early education center. Edulog, the consultant firm that suggested it, had estimated it would save the district about $400,000, but news of the proposal drew strong opposition from parents.
"We had several concerns and the board did not want to pursue it further," said school board President Gary Peccola.
Board member Wayne White said the board always considered it just a proposal to consider, and one that needed to be shared with the public. "We wanted to make sure everyone impacted by it would have a voice in the decision," he said. "Looking closely at it and realizing it would have a negative impact on students meant it wasn't the right choice to make."
The other proposal involved redrawing school boundaries to eliminate at least one bus line from the transportation budget, but parents were equally unhappy with that plan because it meant many children would change schools.
Peccola said the board instructed administrators to go back to Edulog and work on that proposal to make it more practical, particularly in Collinsville's tradition of small neighborhood schools within walking distance of many of its students.
"All the students who walk to school will continue to walk, and that was one of the things we were looking for," Peccola said.
Reworking the plan will take several months, Peccola said, and thus no changes will be made for the next school year. "If there are to be any changes, they will take place the following year, and we will have public hearing and give people time to process it," he said.
Lindsay Cerrano, president of the Twin Echo PTA, called the decision "a huge success."
"At first it was disheartening, because people were not sure if we were being heard," Cerrano said. "Parents were on the edge of their seats, and this was such a pleasant surprise for everyone ... I'm proud of all our parents and the parents at the other schools who put forth time and energy to look into this and go to the board."
Peccola said he can understand why the Twin Echo parents were upset.
"It tells me that the parents at Twin Echo are passionate and believe in the school," he said. "I hope people understand that the board is looking at all options to try to save money, and this was one presented to us. We will be looking at many more. We will have to make cuts and we need the administration to give us options. This was one of them, it wasn't popular and we won't be doing it."
Cerrano said it was a lesson for her and for other parents to stay involved.
"Hopefully we can help make Unit 10 a stable educational environment for the students and the teachers, and make it easier for the board," she said.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at email@example.com or 239-2501.