Monday, July 22, 2019 Elyria 72°

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Efforts grow to save south side school with online petition


ELYRIA — A petition is circulating in an effort to save a planned elementary school on the city’s south side.

The petition comes about two weeks after Elyria district officials met to discuss possible changes to the district’s master plan that could result in the elimination of two schools from the construction plan. Elyria Schools is rebuilding the district’s buildings for kindergarten through eighth grade in a $127 million project funded with local and state dollars.

District officials said rising construction costs are pushing hard on the budget, and changes may be needed to keep the budget in line.

However, for residents of south Elyria, any plan to close a school in the neighborhood and not build a new one would harm the children and families in the area. As such, the Southside Neighborhood Network, a new resident-driven group dedicated to the 5th Ward, started the online petition.

“Residents of Elyria are coming together to keep a neighborhood school on Elyria’s south side of town,” the petition reads. “(Each) signature is a crucial first step in joining our community efforts to help children and families learn in every neighborhood in the city of Elyria.”

The petition is to all five members of the Elyria school board, 11 members of Elyria City Council, Superintendent Tom Jama and Mayor Holly Brinda.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, the petition had 106 online signatures including ones from Councilman Marcus Madison, D-5th Ward, and Brinda.

“I proudly sign this petition in support of children and families, who have made progress to educate and inspire our most vulnerable members living in the 5th Ward,” Madison wrote. “I’m hopeful that we can find a solution that continues to build on the positive work to develop the 5th Ward and strengthen the existing support systems for our young scholars.”

Madison encouraged people to sign and share the petition to send a message to the board.

Brinda’s comment on the online petition reiterated her stance to advocate for a new school in south Elyria.

“A school on the south side helps make education accessible, provides important value-added services and resources, connects our children and families to more caring adults, makes south Elyria safer, encourages investment, and protects property values,” she wrote. “As Mayor, I do not have any legal authority over the school district, but certainly I have the moral obligation to stand up and advocate for what I think is right for our children and families.”

School board members have not voted on how they will proceed in light of the pressing budget concerns.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 440-329-7121 or Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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