SAVE GATEWAY: Parents, Students Plead With Board

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Students and parents rallied outside the Des Moines School Board meeting in an effort to save their school and stop relocation plans.

The students at Gateway Secondary School say they like the school they have, and don't want to leave, but the district says shutting it down will save money without hurting the kids' education.

The middle school just opened in 2010, and its small class sizes and central location have made it a big hit.  Parents are asking why the district would want to close something that's working so well?

“It`s an academically successful school and it is a program that the kids are engaged and very interested in learning and it`s something that I think the school board should look at as a model for other schools versus closing the school,” parent Barb Watson explained.

After voicing their opinions to the school board, the parents listened to the districts argument.  Gateway serves only 171 students and those students cost the district much more to educate.  It uses space that could be utilized elsewhere and its International Baccalaureate curriculum is now offered at four other Des Moines Middle Schools.

“Due to the duplication and expansion of IB programming in the district in addition to the financial and equity implications, we are recommending the closure of Gateway School after the 2013-2014 school year,” District Administrator Tim Schott said.

It's another dilemma for the embattled Des Moines School Board, who says they will reach a final decision by their February 5 meeting.