Brevard parents, teachers, students protest proposed school closures

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - Angry teachers, parents and young students rallied Thursday night in an effort to keep some Brevard County schools from being shut down.

Hundreds of protesters marched on school board headquarters. They all wore yellow shirts that said "Save Brevard Schools." The superintendent and board members weren't there, only senior staff.

It was the last chance for parents to state their opinions before the board votes on the closures and boundary changes.

This group of parents and teachers isn't lying down when it comes to the Brevard school district's plan to close four schools.

"We're tired of educators kind of getting the raw end of the deal. We want to see kids get a chance to get their school," said Bob Collins, a Brevard County teacher.

After a one-half-cent sales tax was narrowly rejected by voters in November, Brevard School District leaders said the only option was to close four schools; Clearlake Middle School and Gardendale, Sea Park and South Lake elementary schools.

"This is too much of a radical change to be made in such a quick time," said one parent

Other schools will have to take in students because of the closures. That could change several school boundaries.

"I think we can have up to 140 students added to our school very comfortably, but we don't want to see a ripple effect, a domino effect on all the beachside schools," said parent Tammy Romanisko.

Parents broke up into groups to go over the plans for proposed new boundaries, and to give input.

But those who see no other option than keeping all the schools open, took their thoughts to senior staff.

"This is a race to the bottom, this is not a race to the top," said one parent.

Some even suggested the county revisit the tax hike.

"I'm willing to stand up and lead the community in a campaign to raise the money needed by the school district to put on an additional election," said teacher Liz Mikitarian.

The school board will vote on proposed changes Jan. 22.