Today, on our Facebook page messenger, one local Billings Resident & apparent Billings Public School staff member (who has requested to remain anonymous for retaliation fears) notified us today of this news, which is *somewhat* flying under the radar right now.

Credit: Canva, Billings Public Schools
Credit: Canva, Billings Public Schools

Parents Meeting Tonight?

Now, our message shared the following:

Superintendent Garcia came to the school yesterday to inform staff that he intends to close Washington Elementary school and redraw boundaries. His reasoning is that our(WES) population is down, so we (WES) are too much of an expense. He is holding a parent meeting tonight at Washington to inform parents. There is no plan to inform the general public and the final decision will be made on January 22 at the School Board meeting. I believe it important for people in the community to know that these decisions are made quietly and with the intent to get them made quickly before anyone has a chance to voice their opinions.

Certainly jarring! However, we call and verify first. So, we did.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva

Hello, Melanie!

Melanie Willardson, Director of Community Relations at Billings Public Schools was happy to chat with me today about this, and here's what she had to say:

Billings Public Schools are looking to NOT close WES, but instead, reimagine it into the Washington Innovation Center, to bring innovative changes to the district... and address other needs, such as the creation of an early college high school... the first of it's kind in Montana.

Melanie of course continued to tell me more, however, I think the letter she provided will do you justice.

Also, TONIGHT at 5:30 PM is a Parents' Meeting, being held by Superintendent Garcia, to discuss the changes coming to Washington Elementary School. So, you may wish to attend.

If you want to read the full communication from Superintendent Garcia about the changes proposed to Washington Elementary School, click the button below.

Credit: Canva / Google
Credit: Canva / Google

So, what's happening?

At this time, nothing. It's all a proposal, put forward by the Superintendent of Schools, to take a failing elementary school and turn it into a pride point for our community.

Is the person who sent the message coming off a bit... angry? Yes. Totally justified, as this has been something kept mostly behind closed doors (unless you reach out and inquire). However, in reading the document provided, this seems like a great solution to me. Take something that needs help, fund it, and make it that much better for Billings.

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Not to mention, Superintendent Garcia plans to assist the already overflowing budget for our schools, by moving costs to the High School side of the budget instead of elementary. Somewhere around $1.5 MILLION.

What are your thoughts?

Should we take a school, that is the most expensive in town to run AND has the lowest student population, and reimagine it? What would you like to see done? Let us know on App Chat or on Facebook!

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