LAWRENCE, Kan. — Wednesday was the final day of school for students at Pinckney and Broken Arrow elementary schools.
In late March, the Lawrence Board of Education decided to close both.
“Sorry,” Pinckney mother Melody Alexander said, crying outside the school Wednesday. “Seeing our kids struggling with this, seeing teachers come out, knowing that this community won’t be together the way that we have been in the past is the hard part.”
Alexander had a kindergartener and a fourth grader at the school this past year.
“Lawrence had too many elementary buildings and not enough school-age children to fill them,” part of a statement read from Lawrence Public Schools’ Executive Director of Communications Julie Boyle.
“Having fewer school buildings will help the district maximize its limited resources, including staffing, to continue to meet all of our students’ needs in a more cost-efficient way.”
Across town, staff were emotional at Broken Arrow.
“Just lots of excited feelings for new beginnings for a lot of our students but also some real emotion because we’re a family here,” Principal Amanda Green said in an interview with FOX4 Wednesday. “So Broken Arrow is a really special, unique, and tight knit community.”
Green said no elementary school teachers are losing their jobs. They’re being transferred to other schools within the district.
“Everyone here has a job and will be continuing to do what they do best,” she continued.
It was not an easy day for parent Laura Newman or her daughter Elanor. Newman’s child went to Broken Arrow.
“Going to a new family, learning a new group, how they work, and maybe learning some new friends, and hopefully bringing along some of our current friends too, but transition is my fear,” Laura said in an interview with FOX4 in the parking lot outside the school.
“Broken Arrow students will attend Cordley, Langston Hughes, Prairie Park, or Schwegler next year. Pinckney students will attend Deerfield or Hillcrest,” Boyle said in that statement.
“Families also had the option to apply for transfers to other schools where space is available. We will have 11 elementary schools next year.”