Galesburg gathers public input on proposed school closures and improvements

GALESBURG, Illinois - Blaming declining enrollment and aging buildings, District 205 faces tough decisions about closing some schools while improving others.

Some two dozen parents and residents participated in the session on Monday, October 1.  The school district wants plenty of input before making big changes.

"I have five children, so it's an important issue for me," said Liz Smith, Galesburg.  "Every time you can come to the meetings and have conversations, there's more to explore."

With fewer students and too many outdated buildings, Galesburg may close at least three schools in the coming years.  Schools needing the most repairs are those most at risk.

"They need to hear from the community," said Scott Wilson, a Galesburg parent.  "I hope that more people in Galesburg will come out and give their feedback."

District 205 is enrolling 4,200 students this year but is losing up to 3% of the student body each year.  That's a reason why it faces closing some schools in order to improve others.

"We know that change is hard, but we hope when it's all said and done that people will really like the changes we make and can be something everybody can be proud of," said Dr. John Asplund, District 205 superintendent.

Gale Elementary and Churchill Middle School are the most at risk. Nielson and King Elementary are also on the bubble.

"We want the best education for our kids, and sometimes that means making really hard decisions," Smith concluded.

The district will host another input session on Wednesday, October 3, 5:30 p.m., at the Lincoln Administration Center in Galesburg.