Residents Discuss Elementary School Closures

Monmouth, IL – More than 200 residents attended a public forum held by the Monmouth-Roseville school district Tuesday night. They were there to discuss the district's tentative deficit reduction plan, which would save nearly $1 million.

One of the most hotly contested topics was the proposal to close Roseville and Willits elementary schools. Some Roseville residents spoke against that idea, which by itself would save hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The district's deficit reduction committee cited reduced utility bills and the possibility of renting the space as some reasons for closures. But bussing additional students from Roseville would increase transportation costs.

Monmouth-Roseville superintendent Paul Woehlke says he understands why Roseville residents are upset, but he says tough decisions must be made.

"I have, first and foremost, a responsibility to the education of our children," says Woehlke. "Therefore, I will be making a recommendation from an education point of view."

Woehlke says seven of the deficit reduction committee's original eight proposals are still on the table. The one that was scrapped proposed dissolving the district. Woehlke says that's an irresponsible option, because it would "wash [the district's] hands" of its financial problems onto someone else.

Woehlke will present his final recommendation to the full school board next week.