Council Bluffs Community Schools votes to close Crescent Elementary

The Council Bluffs Board of Education voted to close Crescent Elementary at Tuesday night's meeting.
Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:50 PM CDT
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - The numbers just didn’t add up for the Council Bluffs Community School District. Little Crescent Elementary will indeed close at the end of the school year.

“This is very difficult to do, nobody wants to do this,” said CBCSD board president Chris LaFerla said moments before the board passed a resolution to close the district’s smallest school. “All of us at one point in time, behind the scenes, have been advocates for Crescent in one way or another.”

The unanimous decision to close Crescent Elementary School came after more than an hour of passionate public remarks from those in attendance. More than 70 Crescent supporters were on hand.

“You are the person that decides, not the numbers, not the way you stack those numbers,” Shawn Shea said. “And I’m looking for you to represent us.”

“Keeping Crescent open gives kids and families in Crescent and Council Bluffs a choice,” another parent told the board. “Don’t take away their choices.”

Another parent shared a story of her childhood memories attending Crescent Elementary School.

“I’m telling you this, because I want the children of Crescent to have great memories like i did,” Michelle Hargins said. “They deserve it, we all deserve to have those memories, not the ones of educators saying you don’t matter, your school doesn’t matter. Please, I ask you not to close our school.”

Council Bluffs is not the only Iowa school district to decide to close schools. In December, Davenport Schools announced they will close three elementary schools next year.

The president of the state’s largest school union, Iowa State Education Association’s Mike Beranek told WOWT in an email statement: “Unfortunately, the past ten years of inadequate state funding for our public schools, combined with the recently passed private school voucher program, will cost close to $1 billion to implement and will only compound this issue in rural communities across the state.”

“Even if enrolment stays flat, we’re not being funded by the state where we need to be across the state as a whole,” school board member Jill Shudak said during the meeting. “This isn’t Crescent specific. This is Council Bluffs schools, this is Lewis Central, this is Underwood. We’re not getting the funding that the public education system needs.”

The Council Bluffs Community School District is considering boundary changes that would shutter one of its oldest elementary schools.