Marysville proposes closing 3 schools, parents demand answers

Leaders in the Marysville School District could recommend plans to consolidate students and staff and close three different schools.  

The schools impacted would be Cascade Elementary, Liberty Elementary and Totem Middle School.  

It was standing room only in the board meeting on Monday, with parents saying that closing schools would not be their first choice. Many were there to learn more about the plan. 

"Our kids deserve better than this," said Amy Hill, a Marysville parent & member of the Marysville Community Coalition. "You have three schools that are on the chopping block. What’s the plan?"

"I’m very disappointed and saddened to hear about the possible closure of Totem Middle school," said a former educator during the public comment period. 

The reasons for possible closures include the district's revised financial plan, the age of the buildings and a decline in student enrollment.   

"Closing the building to students doesn’t bring the cost to zero," said one concerned community member. 

Many called for transparency during the process.  

"The transparency apparently needs a lot of adjustment," said Paul Galovin, a Marysville parent & former board president.

The district says they still have an entire year for planning. That would include community input and final approval from the school board.   However, some parents aren't happy with that timeline. 

"Basically, telling our community that it’s going to take a year for us to hear what the plan is to close three schools is pretty unacceptable at this point, when we’ve been calling for transparency," said J. Hooman, a parent and member of the Marysville Community Coalition.

A letter from Dr. Lisa Gonzales circulated in the crowd at the board meeting. Gonzales is the executive director of finance and operations. In it, she accused the district of, "violations of the law, inaccurate state reports, and cronyism."

She wrote that after meetings with leadership in HR and pointing out issues, "I was informed that I would no longer be employed once my contract ended."

She then stated in the letter that she was placed on administrative leave without explanation in late May.

"I’m not surprised, these are things that the community has been saying this whole time," said Hooman. 

FOX 13 asked board president, Wade Rinehardt, about the letter. 

He declined comment Monday night following the meeting. He also declined to talk about the closures following the meeting. 

When asked if the board was going to get more community input, he responded, "I can’t answer. We are going into executive session right now, so we are not going to do any more comments."

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