2 Loveland elementary schools closing next year

LOVELAND, Colo. -- Hundreds of parents in Loveland will have to make a big change in the fall of 2019 because the Thompson School District is closing two elementary schools.

Wednesday night, the school board voted five to two to close Van Buren and Stansberry Elementary schools after the 2018-19 school year.

"It’s not something we take lightly," Board president Lori Hvizda Ward said. "We have responsibility for the education of all the 16,000 kids in our school district."

The areas where those students is live is changing. More often, they live in the eastern and southern part of the district, not in the center where the two schools are closing.

Right now, enrollment at Stansberry and Van Buren is about 60 percent and 40 percent of capacity and is predicted to decrease next school year.

Stansberry Elementary School is one of two elementary schools closing in the Thompson School District in 2019.

"At some point you’re not serving the students well by having such a small population at the school," Ward said.

She said that makes it very expensive to educate the students and provide them art, music, gifted and special education programs.

By closing the two schools, the district is set to save nearly $2.5 million per year.

But not all board members and parents think it's worth the money.

"I’m a big proponent of  neighborhood schools," said board member Jeff Swanty. "I think schools are part of the fabric that makes up that community. They’re certainly school, but they’re much more than that to a lot of people."

Swanty was one of the board members who voted against closing the schools.

He would've like to see the district wait longer before making a decision.

So would Lora Mann, who's son is in kindergarten at Stansberry Elementary, where he walks to school almost every day.

"It’s convenient," Mann said of the school. "It brings community. So anytime you want to talk to teachers, you just go right in. Everybody knows each other on first name basis."

Mann and other parents are afraid they'll lose that when the schools close.

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