Brevard County school board votes to close 3 schools

Sea Park Elementary to remain open

Published On: Feb 12 2013 11:00:56 AM EST   Updated On: Feb 13 2013 12:39:21 PM EST
VIERA, Fla. -

The Brevard County School Board has voted to shut the doors of three out of the four schools up for closure at a meeting, outraging parents and sending some into tears.

School Board members voted to close Gardendale Elementary, South Lake elementary school 3-2  just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Clearlake Middle School 4-1.

Elizabeth Wallace, a teacher at Gardendale, reacted to the news Tuesday night.

"It's business as usual tomorrow at school from now until the end of the year. We have to make sure that the kids are taken care of," said Wallace. "My charge now is to soften the blow for them and go back and tell them it's going to be okay."

The vote to close Sea Park Elementary failed, meaning the school will remain open.

The closures are part of more than $30 million in budget cuts officials are considering this year.

Christine McClure said the fight for the schools is not over.

"We will work on getting board members in those seats who listen to the parents, who listen to the municipalities, and listen to what other people are saying. This is not just about numbers, this is about children," said McClure.

Brevard County parents have formed a political action committee just before Tuesday's school board meeting. The Brevard Parents PAC officially formed Monday — in time to put officials on notice that they intend to hold them accountable for their votes long after decisions made on Tuesday.

The PAC seeks to represent parents from across the Space Coast, and will limit membership to Brevard Public School parents, guardians and grandparents. Its formation is, in part, a response to criticism that parents lobbying to keep school or programs alive were not involved before November’s election.

The PAC plans on holding officials accountable by grading school board members once a semester. In addition, their website will give voters a way to track school board decisions.

"Our role will be to evaluate those decision, put them in context of things that concern parents, and make sure the history of their decision-making is kept in front of the electorate in 2014," said parent David Rees.

The committee plans on endorsing school board members or candidates that align with their ideology in the next election in 2014. PACs can donate up to $500 per candidate per election.

Three out of the five board members — Michael Krupp, Barbara Murray and Andy Ziegler — will be up for re-election then. The school board needs a majority vote to make decisions.