Families near Jefferson Elem. want Richland Schools to listen to their needs

RICHLAND -- The Richland School Board is continuing its efforts to sell the idea of a $98 million bond issue to voters.

The original plan upset many families around Jefferson Elementary, because the district wanted to close the school and re-purpose it to a HomeLink facility.

Tuesday night, many of those parents spoke up, spelling out their reasons to keep Jefferson open. They're worried about the high-needs children who may not get as much personalized care at a bigger school.

One plan under consideration would keep Jefferson as a K-5 school, and then replace Marcus Whitman, Lewis and Clark, and Sacajawea elementaries at a slightly smaller size than originally planned.

But others on the board are worried about not building big enough for future growth. Still, they say they are hearing the concerns of Jefferson parents "loud and clear."

Action News also learned the new plan would eliminate the possibility of a new elementary school on Belmont in West Richland. The news is a big disappointment to many families who live in that area.

The district says it has not made any decisions yet. But it will be holding additional board meetings for the next two Tuesdays. They will be open to the public.

Officials hope to reach a final decision by December.