Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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October 8, 2013

Wilson to close Stevenson in June

Board of Education votes to mothball Ransomville school

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal —

W.H. Stevenson Elementary School will close at the conclusion of the school year, after Wilson Board of Education members voted 5-2 on Tuesday night to shut down the Ransomville building.

School officials said the closure will happen when the 2013-14 year ends in June. Board members Mark Randall and Jack Clement were the dissenting votes.

For some of the board members, closing Stevenson was what the public wanted, seen in the two defeats of the 2013-14 budget back in May and June. Wilson is operating under a contingent budget for this school year.

"We feel the school is an important part of the community, but obviously the two no (budget) votes had a major impact on the district and we have to move forward," Carlin said. "I think it's important for board members to speak as one and to make it as positive a transition for the kids and the families."

Board Vice President Michael Leggett said he was convinced last year keeping Stevenson open was the right thing to do. But then, the public spoke in the annual budget vote, he said.

"And the public said no," he said. "And again the following month, the public said – even louder – no. Although it's unfortunate, but I feel it is my duty to go with the numbers."

A group of residents spoke Tuesday night, airing their feelings about the closure. William Smith thanked the board for making a tough but necessary decision.

"It's a sad day to see Stevenson close, but it had to be done," Smith said.

Most had questions and reservations about the closing of Stevenson. Ransomville resident Dan Seider said he believed closing the school was not in the best interest of the kids. Seider advised the board to present a budget with no tax levy increase, because otherwise it won't pass, he said.

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