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State responds to school closing threat complaints

Posted: 7:12 PM, Aug 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-24 11:05:48Z

The state is trying to get everyone to calm down about its threat to close schools on the failing list.

The School Reform Office is suppose to put out the list September 1st leaving districts hanging while they wait.

"It's not right. It's not the kids' fault," said Angela Montry, mother of five kids in Lansing School District.

"Two in Gardner, one in Attwood, one in Kendon, and one in Cavanaugh."

Angela Montry worries Cavanaugh could close its doors next year since it was on the School Reform Office's 2014 bottom 5-percent. Rumors that have been spreading for weeks.

2014 Priority Schools Named in the Bottom 5 Percent : Lowest Achieving 5-percent of all public schools.

"I'm terrified for them because I don't want the schools to close," Montry said. "I want my kids to be able to go to school and get an education."

But the state says parents like Montry shouldn't be worried by rumors.

"There was a talk of the options available to the school reform office if there's consistent chronic failure in a school," said Caleb Buhs, public information officer for the Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

The department oversees the School Reform Office.

"One of those options happens to be closures but there's a number of other options," said Buhs.

Options like an academic officer, who would be called a CEO. The person would be appointed by the office and would be in charge of bringing that failing school up to state standards.

Buhs says the office does still have the option of closing schools. He tells News 10 that there is currently no plan or list to close schools.

"I can't unequivalently say there'll never be a school closure. There is only so many tools available to hold school districts accountable," said Buhs.

Lansing school district says they've been doing everything right but since the state has cancelled two meetings with them.

"I am angry. The only communication I get from the Reform Office is in the paper or its on the television through media interview," said Peter Spadafore, Lansing School Board President. "We've attempted to communicate with our parents what's at stakes here but we don't know."

Since rumors started that schools on the bottom 5 percent may close, the school and Spadafore have had explain the issue with parents.

"We do firmly believe no schools will close in the Lansing School District this year but I need the state reform office to actually sit down in front of me and tell me what they have planned for our schools" Spadafore said.

Buhs says School Reform Officer Natasha Baker has been reaching out to all of the schools on the bottom 5-percent including Lansing and plans to let them know if their schools will make the list.

With things unclear for the children's schools, Angela Montry is thinking ahead and making plans, "if schools close and it affects my children then I'm going to probably home school because I'm not gonna have them shipped to another school."