Stillwater Area Public Schools Families Rally to Save Marine, Withrow and Oak Park Elementary Schools

Stillwater Area Public Schools’ B.O.L.D. proposal is stirring up quite a community discussion.

Last week, the Stillwater Area Board of Education heard a presentation from district staff to consider a proposal to close Marine, Withrow and Oak Park elementary schools in fall of 2017.

Since that presentation, many Stillwater area families have been writing letters, making phone calls, taking to social media, planning events and organizing ways for people to get involved and make their voices heard.

Important Links

One such effort, is Stop B.O.L.D. Cold, a community initiative focused on opposing the district’s possible plan to close Marine, Withrow and Oak Park elementary schools.

The mission of the Stop B.O.L.D. cold movement, is to organize community action, convince the Board to vote no when the B.O.L.D. proposal comes before them on Feb. 11 and provide input for a new plan to address the address capacity concerns and “inequitable learning opportunities” for students.

According to StopBoldCold.org:

“Stop Bold Cold is asking the community to take a multi-faceted approach to defeat the current B.O.L.D. proposal by writing the school board, superintendent and other administrators, signing petitions, donating to the cause and volunteer opportunities. Click the TAKE ACTION button below to discover how you can join the cause for this important community initiative to protect our schools and communities in Stillwater Area Public School District.”

Within the first 8 hours of launching a change.org site, Stop B.O.L.D. Cold’s petition to oppose the district’s plan had more than 250 signatures.

In addition to the district’s recommendation to close Marine, Oak Park and Withrow — transporting students to other schools in the district. — the plan would also require new school boundaries to be drawn.

According to school district leaders, the school boundary changes have not yet been developed.

The idea is “to create seven right-sized elementary schools,” Superintendent Denise Pontrelli told the Board. “Right-sizing ensures all of our students would have the same learning experience no matter where they live and would create a more sustainable future.”

Pontrelli says that closing the three elementary schools would save the district $1.26 million a year.

If approved, the change would happen for the start of the 2017-2018 school year.

A formal recommendation for this proposal will come before the Board on Jan. 7, 2016 with public hearings on the issue on Jan. 26, 27, and 28.

A final decision is expected on Feb. 11.

Upcoming Public hearings:

  • Oak Park Elementary: Tuesday, Jan. 26 at Oak-Land Junior High. Time to be determined.
  • Withrow Elementary:  Wednesday, Jan. 27 at Oak-Land Junior High. Time to be determined.
  • Marine Elementary: Thursday, Jan. 28 at Oak-Land Junior High. Time to be determined.

Community Meetings:

  • Monday, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. at Hugo City Hall, where the City Council will discuss the proposed closing of Withrow Elementary
  • Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. at Withrow Elementary, WEA and community members are meeting to discuss an action plan to oppose the B.O.L.D. proposal.
If you know of other community meetings or efforts regarding this proposal, email shawn@StillwaterCurrent.com.

Stillwater Area Schools Capacity Proposal Dec 17