This week, the Des Moines School Board will make a tough decision. The seven-member panel will vote whether to close Gateway Secondary School at Central Campus.
The district is recommending the closure, but parents are fighting to keep it open.
“Our first choice is not to move our child,” says Susan Cory-Kuker.
Her daughter is a 7th grader at Gateway.
“Nobody is going to enroll their student to a school that they’re going to have to take them out right away. That’s not a choice you want to make anytime,” says Cory-Kuker.
13-year-old Regen Kuker’s parents decided to enroll her into Gateway’s International Baccalaureate or IB program because it was a right fit. The school opened in 2010 and has about 170 students in 6th through 10th grades.
“I like all the opportunities that I have at Gateway, like I can take Chinese,” she says.
“It’s highly successful to just pull the plug on,” says Des Moines School Board Member Pat Sweeney.
Sweeney is also a parent of a Gateway student. He plans to vote against the district’s plan to close the school. One of the reasons has to do with finances.
“We have a surplus of money. We had a surplus last year of funds. There is no financial problem,” he says.
The other problem deals with duplication of program. The district says other middle schools have or are starting IB programs of their own.
“It’s been very hard to narrow it down to what is the concern,” says Cory-Kuker.
She just knows that parents and students are concerned what will happen to the school come Tuesday.
“I think Gateway is like a second home and I don’t want my home to close,” says daughter, Regen.
We contacted several board members, but Sweeney was the only one who returned our call. If the board votes to close Gateway on Tuesday, the school would stay open for the rest of this year and all of next year.