By Ron Maraca
It was back in December that district officials said they may close Gateway Secondary School. Tuesday night parents, teachers, students and district administrators found out the fate of the three year–old International Baccalaureate school.
For some Gateway parents, it's been an agonizing couple of months.
"Well, sleepless nights, waking up multiple times in the middles of the night on a regular basis," said parent Maria Benson.
District administrators put Gateway on the chopping block. They say the school isn't cost effective, other Des Moines middles schools now offer more comprehensive I–B programs, plus they believe Gateway students have an unfair advantage over other students in the district.
"I find it hard to say this is an efficient way to run a program when we can offer it in other schools," said school board member Connie Obese.
The school board then decided to close the book on Gateway.
"The motion has been approved. Four in favor (of closing) and three against," declared School Board President Dick Murphy.
Emotions flowed after the decision, some wiping away tears. Gateway will close after next school year.
"Very surprised," said parent Barb Watson. "I really honestly thought this was going to be a 4–3 vote the other way."
"I can't find anywhere in the nation that they've closed a school because it's doing well," said parent Scott Carl son.
"They've let the students down and the families down," said parent Jennifer Clark. "I think the school district is losing the trust of this community by not keeping their commitments."
We're told all Central Campus counselors will be on hand at Gateway tomorrow to help students cope with tonight's decision.
The students will be spread out to other schools in the district.