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Parents organize to save Olympic View Elementary

Theresa Green understands the dilemma the Bremerton School District is in because of its $1.2 million projected budget shortfall next year. But, as a parent with a child at Olympic View Elementary School and a Manette resident, she doesn’t think closing the school is part of the solution.

“I don’t really think they’ll save money by closing the school,” she said. “I believe they could save the money somewhere else.”

Green is part of a growing movement among parents, teachers and community members who are trying to save the school.

The Bremerton School Board may decide whether to close the school as soon as its board meeting on Thursday, March 18. The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the district office.

When the citizens and parents last met Tuesday evening at the Emmanuel Lutheran Church, many were looking over a two-page document that had the salaries of 10 of the district’s administrators and wondered if the district could cut costs by cutting back on administrative positions. The administrator’s salaries are public record.

“I don’t know enough about administrative salaries to know if those are out of whack, but I think a lot of fluff could be cut from the budget,” she said.

Green’s main concern is the school board doesn’t realize the affect a school closure could have on the students.

“The administrators are making the decision and I think they have forgotten what it’s like to be a child,” she said. “I think they should try not to make decisions that will throw the children into a tailspin.”

The group of about 20 is creating a strategy for saving the school, which includes organizing speakers at today’s 10 a.m. public hearing and the public hearing at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Both hearings will be at Olympic View Elementary.

The talking points will range from the emotional impact on the children to the affect a school closure would have on the quality of life in Manette.

One of the speakers on the group’s behalf will be Walt Connolly of Manette. He believes the district is treating the school closure as a separate issue and that there are several issues that should be addressed jointly, including shifting the grade configuration of the schools and building a new maintenance facility. His concern is if the school district closes Olympic View Elementary, it could kill any chance of passing a future bond to raise money for capital projects.

“If you alienate people by closing a school, you will lose your bond issue,” he said.

The Bremerton School District’s Elementary’s School Closure Study Task Force recommended to close Olympic View at the district’s school board meeting two weeks ago.

Olympic View Elementary Principal Kathleen Cornelson Smith sent letters out to the parents to let them know the recommendation was coming down the pike.

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