The Wichita school board voted unanimously Monday to close five schools, a decision one board member described as “heartbreaking.”
Lanora Nolan said she and her colleagues had no choice but to close the schools — four elementaries and Northeast Magnet High School — because of reductions in state per-pupil funding over the past four years.
“It’s not a simple economic issue. It is gut-wrenching,” Nolan said. “It is heartbreaking that we find ourselves even in this position.”
The vote followed emotional testimony and an Occupy Wichita-style disruption in the North High lecture hall, where several people stood and shouted in unison at board members before being ushered out by police and security officers.
Board members left the room during the outburst. They came back after a brief break to continue their discussion and vote on school closings.
The closings are part of a broader boundary plan that board members also approved unanimously Monday. The plan will close Northeast Magnet at 17th and Chautauqua and move its program to a new school being built in Bel Aire. Four elementary schools also will close for good this spring: Bryant, Emerson, Lincoln and Mueller.