Bettendorf will recommend closing Thomas Jefferson Elementary School

BETTENDORF, Iowa - The Bettendorf Board of Education will consider closing Thomas Jefferson Elementary School in a board meeting tonight on August 6.

A statement from the board says Superintendent Mike Raso has suggested closing the elementary school and merging the students with Mark Twain Elementary School, a little over a mile away. The formal motion will be made tonight.

According to the statement, Thomas Jefferson has $1.4 million suggested in improvements to the facility. One of the largest costs would be a new roof, scheduled for next summer. The statement also says that the district could save $500,000 each year if the school were closed.

Mark Twain is a currently existing elementary school undergoing an expansion. In the suggested plan, Thomas Jefferson students would be consolidated into the updated Mark Twain building for the 2019-2020 school year, giving Thomas Jefferson a year to transition.

Talk of merging the schools has created concern with parents who send their children to school in the district.

"I think that the most alarming thing is that we are continuing to put dollars and brand new buildings in front of curriculum and supporting teaching and making sure that proficiency and test scores are number one." said Becca Eastman, a parent who lives near Thomas Jefferson Elementary.

Eastman said she, and many others, moved to the neighborhood specifically to send their children to Thomas Jefferson.

Resident's in the neighborhood have placed signs in their front yard that read "premier cities don't close schools."

The decision to make the recommendation comes after several months of back and forth debates.