Brevard County parents fight to keep schools open - FOX 35 News Orlando

Brevard County parents fight to keep schools open

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MELBOURNE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

Dozens of parents showed up to a community meeting Thursday night in Melbourne, hoping to learn more about proposed boundary changes to the Brevard County School District.  

Parents and children marched to a meeting with plenty of passion, in an effort to keep four schools from closing. "Of course it's a concern," said Michelle Speisman, "because you don't want them to have to deal with instability their first year of school."

Due to a budget shortfall, administrators may close South Lake, Sea Park and Gardendale elementary schools, as well as Clearlake Middle School.  Parents are even supporting the extension of a .25 millage tax and a quarter cent sales tax to keep the schools open.  They are asking for a special election in November, but district spokesperson Michelle Irwin said it's not likely to happen.

"We're looking at a $30 million deficit and we had 139,000 people in Brevard County say 'no' to the half-cent sales tax," said Irwin. "We need to be good stewards of the taxpayer's dollars," she added. "It costs around $800,000 to do a special election, and that's money we just don't feel we have right now."

"I would like to publicly announce that I am willing to stand up and lead the campaign to raise the money needed by the school district to put on an additional election," said Liz Mikitanan before a crowd of about 200.  

As parents do what they can to keep the schools open, it's frustrating for Christine McClure, who added, "I feel diminished. I feel like I don't matter. I feel like my kids don't matter. I feel like the school board doesn't care about the parents, the families, and the children of Brevard County." 

They plan to continue to do what they can to save their schools.

"From what I'm hearing tonight, it sounds like they already made up their mind, and it's really upsetting," an exasperated McClure said.

The board will vote on school closures on January 22.

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