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Three down: Parent, superintendent react as GBAPS Board votes for more school closures

Tank, Keller join Wequiock as Green Bay elementary schools to close in 2024
Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-25 01:24:50-04
  • The Green Bay school board voted Monday night to close Tank and Keller elementary schools after this school year
  • The two schools join Wequiock Elementary as Green Bay Area Public Schools to announce closures this fall
  • Current Tank students will move to Lincoln Elementary next fall, while Keller students will go to Kennedy Elementary
  • With both schools hovering around 50% capacity, the school board and district says the move will allow the district to cut maintenance costs and consolidate resources
  • Video shows a parent expressing why she would prefer the Board allow Tank students to complete their time at the school before closing it

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Monday night the Green Bay school board voted to close two more elementary schools — Tank and Keller. I'm Karl Winter, and while the district and board say the change is good for consolidating half-empty campuses, parents are concerned about transportation.

"I'm going to have to take the extra expense to try to find a way to get my kids from the school," April Brown said.

Brown is a single mom with two children at Tank. She says the board's choice to move all of Tank's students to Lincoln Elementary will turn the school bus ride for her kids from five minutes to more than 30.

"It's going to be harder on the kids because then they're going to have less time to be home to do schoolwork," Brown said. "They're gonna have to get used to completely new students."

April would have preferred the district allow current students to finish at Tank before closing it — a solution that school board member Andrew Becker considered when he voted against closing Keller.

"There's some something to be said for not springing something on people with too short of a notice," Becker said.

But ultimately, Becker says it does make sense to merge schools that have low enrollment.

"We do need to save some money," Becker said. "We can't be running half empty buildings, 40% empty buildings."

Superintendent Claude Tiller Jr. promises the Tank and Keller faculty and staff will still have jobs after the schools close.

"We have already met with the teachers and we guarantee them a position in the district," Tiller said.

And says the consolidation of resources is a good thing for the students.

"Now some people and some parents just don't feel good about change, but the change will always be for the better," Tiller said.

Brown isn't so sure, as she says Lincoln is a good school, but the distance makes her nervous.

"I prefer to be close to the school in case of an emergency," Brown said.

Back in May, a task force recommended the school district close 11 schools. Becker says he's not necessarily on board with that number, but more consolidation is definitely on the horizon for Green Bay area schools.