Crescent wants to be heard before school board votes on closure

The town of Crescent, Iowa, came out tonight to fight the Council Bluffs Community School District's proposal to close the town's lone elementary school.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 10:43 PM CST
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CRESCENT, Iowa (WOWT) - Crescent’s kids, their families and friends came to the community center meeting to learn why.

To the mayor, a former Pottawatamie County supervisor, its hard for his community not to take personally plans to close Crescent Elementary next fall - again.

“Yeah, this is real personal,” Mayor Charles Hildreth said. “This is the third time this small community has had to (deal with) this since 2006, and every time we go through this people get angry and are in disarray over what we do with our kids.”

After notice of redistricting and the planned closure reached parents last week, the shock quickly turned to action and the community gathering Wednesday night, where they learned the Council Bluffs Community School District has at least agreed to hear input on the issue next week, before voting at the board of education meeting March 28 in Council Bluffs. Many worry it’s too late.

“That’s our one opportunity to do it, that public hearing,” Shawn Shea said. “It’s gonna be decided by the time of the 28th, and maybe already is.”

There are only 67 students currently at Crescent Elementary, but with new development, the mayor argues that number will grow. He also points out that the uncertainty over the middle school doesn’t make his town as lucrative to young families.

The Urban family recently moved from Omaha. A main reason? Their two kids, now four and six, would attend Crescent Elementary.

“The community out here is a little more spread out, the houses aren’t close together,” Jessica Urban said. “There isn’t all the cul-de-sacs where kids are out playing, so Crescent Elementary was that opportunity for our children to find their sense of community, and if it closes, that’s taken away.”

“58 percent of our taxes goes to Council Bluffs School District, 58 percent,” Hildreth told the community.

“You gotta stop doing this to Crescent,” he said. “You can’t tell us you’re opening then two years down the road (that) you’re gonna close it. It’s not fair to the kids, it’s not fair to the parents, it’s not fair to our community.”

The school district declined our request for a statement, but did confirm the public meeting will be held Tuesday, March 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Council Bluffs.