Board postpones decision on closing Brevard schools



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Teachers, parents and students will have to wait a little longer to find out the fate of a handful of Brevard County schools.

At a heated meeting Tuesday night, the board received an earful from furious parents, and the board decided to postpone their vote.

Clearlake Middle School, as well as Gardendale, Sea Oak and South Lake elementary schools are in jeopardy of closing.

"I'm angry; they have enough time, this is their job," said Angel Tatum, a Sea Park teacher.

Many of those WFTV spoke with said teachers, students and parents can't take the anxiety that comes with not knowing the fate of their schools after the school board decided to take another three weeks to figure out if they will close the schools.

"If you have your decision and you're going to vote to close the schools, close the schools tonight. If you're going to vote to keep us open, keep us open but stop holding our lives in your hands," said one parent.

Some of those at the meeting said the looming decision has caused a major distraction in the schools.

"With all this going on, the kids are asking questions. Teachers, parents are asking questions; we're not able to give them a 110 percent like we usually do," said South Lake teacher Anthony Colucci.

Some parents at the meeting said they see the postponement as a way to buy time and keep working to keep the schools from closing.

"Well, that does give us more time to look at alternative resources, and that's what we've been asking the school board for, is more time," said parent Tina Burton.

In recent weeks, different options have come up for saving money to partially make up for the district's $30 million shortfall.

District staff members called for an emergency discussion about refinancing debt to be added to Tuesday night's agenda. They said it could equate to savings of $4.5 million over several years.

But some see that as false hope, after the superintendent mentioned other plans for those savings.

The board voted to go ahead with the next step to plan a refinance of debts to save money.

That vote will go hand-in-hand with a vote on the proposal to close schools at the next meeting, Feb. 12.

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