Fight On To Save Council Bluffs Elementary School

An old Council Bluffs Elementary School could be closing its doors for good in a few years, but those who want to keep it open are fighting back.

Walnut Grove Elementary School was built in the 1920s and Council Bluffs Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Martha Bruckner says it is in need of a major overhaul. “We either need to make it better or we need to get those children in better facilities.”

One necessary safety upgrade would be the main entrance. The office is up a flight of stairs and across the hallway so monitoring traffic in and out can be difficult.

Instead of paying more than $8 million to renovate the building, a recommendation is going before the school board to close Walnut Grove and send students to surrounding schools.

“In the long run that would provide the children with an excellent education in a good facility and it would not cost the taxpayer the money that it would cost to renovate the building,” said Dr. Bruckner.

Teresa Valyer, whose grandson attends Walnut Grove, has been gathering signatures to keep the school open. “I just went up and down the rows of cars and asked people to sign and I only had one man who was older who said he needed to ask his wife. Every other person signed the petition.”

One of the concerns of those who want to keep the school open is where the students will end up if the school closes. The nearest school is Franklin Elementary, nine blocks away. Valyer hasn't given up the fight. “It's kind of like, they renovated all the other schools and they got to Walnut Grove and said oops, we're out of money.”

The school board will hear the recommendation at next Tuesday's scheduled meeting, which is open to the public. School board meetings are also carried live on Cox channel 18 as well as on the school district's website.

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