Brevard School Board votes to close 3 schools

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Brevard County School Board voted to close South Lake and Gardendale elementary schools and Clearlake Middle School at a Tuesday evening meeting.

In a 2-3 vote, the board voted to keep Sea Park Elementary School open.

The board voted 3-2 to close South Lake, 4-1 to close Clearlake and 3-2 to close Gardendale.

Some emotional parents told WFTV's Tim Barber they will not stop fighting.

Even with the closures, the district said it is still facing more than a $25 million shortfall.

"I will make it my passion for the next two years to make sure everybody who voted to close these schools is no longer on this school board," said parent Karen Proctor.

Amy Kneessy is the only person who voted to keep all four schools open.

"I don't understand how you can say 'no' to one area and 'yes' to the other," said Kneessy.

Proctor said she had to tell her 7-year-old that her school, Gardendale Elementary, is shutting it down.

"I just got off the phone with him and he is upset. I have my 7-year-old telling me he is crying and sad that they closed his school," said Proctor.

"Why was this necessary?" Barber asked School Board Chair Dr. Barbara Murray.

"I believe this was necessary because we have over $30 million to recuperate," said Murray.

Murray said closing three schools will not even save $4 million, so the district must find a way to cut other big ticket items.

Some angry parents disagreed that time was running out.

Misty Belford said she is devastated because her 9-year-old is being forced out of South Lake Elementary.

"I think it is very unfortunate that there were not better decisions," said Belford.

School leaders said the school tax, which was voted down in November, could have helped with the current budget problems.

They said they will be notifying parents about which schools their children will be going to next year.

Board member Andy Ziegler said that Sea Park Elementary will remain open because other schools in that area are at capacity.