Battle Creek school officials, parents discuss closures

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. -- The Battle Creek Public Schools Superintendent says it was a hard decision to propose closing three schools, but feels it had to be done to save a school system that has lost millions of dollars over the last few years.

"I have to believe that doing this work is going to, at the end of the day, create better outcomes for kids," Battle Creek Superintendent Kim Parker-Devauld said.

Parker-Devauld spoke to a room full of concerned parents and educators Wednesday about the proposal to close the Dudley, Fremont and Urbandale schools.

She said closing the three schools would save the district about $1 million next school year, but emphasized that the goal was to make sure each child succeeds academically.

She wants students to shine in the classroom but knows that they need a healthy educational environment to do so.  She says not all schools are currently providing that.

During the Wednesday meeting, parents asked questions about a variety of issues, including bus transportation and teacher retention.  Overall, they seemed impressed with what they saw.

"I applaud them for being brave and making these big changes that were necessary," said Cori Ignatovich, a mother who has three boys in Battle Creek Public Schools.  "I've been in the district for many years and it's been difficult to see the decline."

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