PORTAGE (WKOW) -- The Portage Community School District is considering closing three of its rural schools as part of a plan to make up for a projected budget shortfall.
District officials are meeting with parents throughout the week to talk about this proposal that, to many parents, came as an unwelcome surprise.
"For them just to yank it from us... We're in shock," Nancy Frisch says.
She is talking about the Portage Community School District's recommendation to close three rural schools in the 2013-2014 school year to make up for a $1 million budget shortfall.
Nancy and her husband, Greg, say the rural schools are the reason they came to Portage just over a year ago—where their daughter can get more one-on-one time with her teacher.
"Don't wreck a good thing. I've worked my butt off to get [my daughters] here, and they're taking it away. It's just sad," Nancy says.
"In the back of our minds, we have to remember this is being done because we're short on cash," says Charles Poches, district administrator.
He says he's already had to reduce teaching positions and programs to cut costs over the past four years.
The latest proposal would save a million dollars by closing Lewiston, Caledonia and Fort Winnebago Elementary Schools; move sixth graders to the middle school and end the contract with River Crossing Charter School.
The proposal will go to the school board in August and the board will have the final decision.
"That's not enough time. We should have enough opportunity to go over alternatives before we jump to the conclusion right away. It's going to affect the lives of a lot of kids," Greg says.
It would affect about 170 students and eight teachers within the district would lose their jobs.
"We'll see what these next meetings will lead to. Hopefully there are answers we haven't discovered, but we wouldn't have come forward with this if we didn't feel we've tried everything," Poches says.
The District scheduled the following public meetings at 6:30 p.m.:
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