North Pekin Marquette Height Scool District Board considers cutting a school, consolidating students into two

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — Fewer students could lead to fewer schools in the North Pekin Marquette Heights School District.

Typically, students go from Marquette Elementary to Rogers Elementary, then Georgetowne Middle School.

But Tuesday night, the school board will consider changing that. The district could close Rogers Elementary School for grades three through five.

“Our enrollment has been declining so significantly that we’ve questioned whether or not we should continue to operate out of three buildings,” said District Superintendent Byron Sondgeroth.

The number of students is low, he said.

“Back as far as 2010, our enrollment for grades K through eight was 622 students, and it’s now down to 397,” said Sondgeroth.

If Rogers Elementary School closes, fourth and fifth graders will go to the middle school, and third graders will go to Marquette Elementary.

However, not all parents are in agreement with the proposed change.

“I just don’t feel as though the kids need to be taken away from that environment. Let them be kids,” said district parent Ashely Althiser. “It’s not about money. The district has the money,”

Board President Keith Knox told WMBD that in addition to enrollment being low, the pandemic has not helped the district. He said closing the school would save the district from potential financial fallout in the future.

Still, some parents are not convinced.

“They’re so prepared and help every student along the way and I don’t want to see our kids get lost in the mix of this because we could potentially save maybe a few dollars,” said Althiser.

If the proposed change occurs, the superintendent said class sizes will not change because the district has contracts that limit class sizes.

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