MOLINE, Ill. — Moline Coal Valley School District has reached an agreement to retire one of its schools. Willard Elementary School will be vacated for the first time since it opened in 1899.
District Superintendent Dr. Rachel Savage said making this move will help improve Lincoln-Irving Elementary School.
"The time is right to retire Willard Elementary," says Dr. Savage. "We are very grateful for the service that Willard has provided it has exceeded our expectations in terms of its lifespan."
Dr. Savage hopes Willard students will move into Lincoln-Irving Elementary School by 2027. However, the decision was not an easy one to make.
"It's always a tough decision and they’re not decisions that are ever taken lightly," Dr. Savage said. "This is purely a decision based on the need and the Board of Education's goal to positively affect the learning environment of the students that attend Willard Elementary"
For 124 years, Willard was the place where many students got their education. Tina Cason says the decision is a heartbreaking one.
"I think it's sad that the school would close and push the students to another school," Cason says. "The teachers here have always been amazing. It's almost like they're just special. There's something about Willard that makes the teachers different than what we're used to."
Cason said her two children attended Willard and that she currently has a grandson that attends the school, making it harder to say goodbye.
"My kids are 30 and 35 now and they still talk about teachers that touched them when they were here, who are all retired now," Cason said.
Dr. Savage says the next 3 years will be crucial to determine what changes will be made at Lincoln-Irving Elementary School. But for now, she says it's important "to have an open line of communication between the district and parents."
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