Former Withrow Elementary Parents Will Now Help Determine Fate of Beloved Elementary School
GRANT, MN - The Stillwater School District's BOLD plan that shuttered three elementary schools in 2016 lit a fire under parents, students and community. After the Stillwater Area Public School District Residents passed a $95 million bond package in 2015, which included approval for the construction of the new Brookview Elementary in Woodbury, the school district under new Superintendent Denise Pontrelli, did a 180 degree change on the community. Like a grinch in the night, twelve days before Christmas in 2015, the school district administration made a sudden announcement for planned closure of three beloved, traditional and award-winning local community schools (Withrow, Marine and Oak Park). This set off a new level of community engagement and wake up calls to the Stillwater community. In the 2016 school board election the community elected Jennifer Pelletier to edge out Chad Gamradt to maintain a pro-school closure board. Longtime School Board Member and former Stillwater High School Teacher, George Hoeppner, along with Paula O'Loughlin, did not seek re-election this year. Earlier in the year, school closing advocate, Tom Lehmann left the school board to become a judge for Anoka County.
Grant Resident Weisberg Elected to Stillwater School Board
Liz Weisberg whose children attend Stillwater Area Public Schools will bring a new voice and fresh ideas to represent the entire community. Liz will focus on building a bigger, stronger school district, and one of her top priorities is to rebuild community trust that has been lost.
Current School Board Member Shelley Pearson was Top Vote Getter
Shelley Pearson is a very independent thinker and excellent community engager. Pearson likes to take time to fully understand the impact of each decision that is going to be made by the school board before taking quick action. Pearson has recently been vocal about wanting to take time and fully explore all options for the entire school district before voting on the administration's proposal to add a $6 million addition on to the newly constructed Brookview Elementary.
Tina Riehle is a Pioneer For Truth
Riehle a Stillwater Township resident was instrumental in giving displaced elementary students of Withrow, Marine and Oak Park another educational option. Riehle was active in starting the River Grove Charter School in the Wilder Forest, that opened last school year and educates about 200 students. Riehle a White Bear Lake High School Graduate, will be very engaging for everyone in the community. She will work with the entire community from the south to north of the school district to find the best solutions.
Withrow Elementary Sits on Border of Grant; Update on Closed Schools
A drive by Withrow Elementary will find that the school is still in very good shape and being fully maintained. Library books are on the shelves, desks in the rooms, and the outdoor grounds are still scenic and beautiful. The Stillwater School District has not put Withrow Elementary on the real estate market and has not proposed any future plans for the building at this time. Now all decisions made about the fate of the building will have to be approved by the newly elected school board. There is a planned sale for Marine Elementary to the City of Marine on St. Croix. The city plans to work with River Grove Charter School to incorporate the space into its' future curriculum. Oak Park Elementary recently held the first ever school board meeting in the newly renovated space. School District Administration has plans to sell and exit their Central Services Building on Greeley Street and move their daily operations to Oak Park Elementary.
Next Stillwater School Board Meeting Tonight, 6:00, Oak Park Elementary
There will be further board discussion on the administration's proposal to add on to Brookview Elementary. The school board live streams the meetings on YouTube. Here is the link to the agenda and live streams: Stillwater School Board Nov. 8th Agenda, Live Stream on YouTube.