SCHOOL MOVING: Proposal To Close Gateway School

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A Des Moines middle school known for its unique curriculum may have just one school year left before it moves into a new building.

Many parents and students are furious about the proposal.

The district announced plans to close Gateway Secondary School after the 2013-2014 school year and move the International Baccalaureate curriculum to Brody Middle School, but it still needs to be approved by board members.

"I will move my kids out of the district if they close the school. I’m not willing to put my kids at Meredith or Brody," said Gloria Aguiler, a frustrated parent.

Administrators say the move makes too much sense not to move forward.

"It's a good move to consider because it's more financially responsible in terms of better running of our schools. More importantly, it's going to expand an educational opportunity to hundreds and hundreds of students," said Phil Roeder, the Director of Community Relations for Des Moines Public Schools.

172 students grades six through nine attend Gateway Secondary School.

It's the first school in the state to install the International Baccalaureate Program.

Since it opened in 2010, nine other Des Moines schools have implemented similar curriculum.

If Gateway is shut down, administrators say students would have the option to open-enroll at any of the other three middle schools that offer it.

The district adds they would give teachers at Gateway first priority over new openings at International Baccalaureate schools.

“It’s great here. It’s working here. Why move them,” said Kathe Irvine, a parent and volunteer within the district.

The proposal to shutdown Gateway was not on the agenda at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Board members hope to make a decision after the first of the year.