Scenic supporters celebrate school being open another year

Best friends Katlyn Erwin, left, and Rebekah Gallegos, both 9, enjoy bowls of vanilla Ice cream topped with chocolate syrup and whipped cream at Wednesday’s ice cream social at Scenic Elementary School. The two girls are in the third grade at the school.

Today could have been the last day of school forever for Scenic Elementary.

Closing the school or one of a handful of other School District 51 buildings was first discussed nearly a year ago as a potential way to save $1.2 million. District 51 School Board members nixed the idea at a board meeting March 27, a decision school employees, students and their parents celebrated Wednesday afternoon with an outdoor ice cream social at Scenic.

“We started this year not knowing if this would be our last year or not,” Principal Doug Levinson told a crowd gathered around the school’s flag pole before ice cream was served. “We had many people writing letters, doing interviews to convince our school board to keep us open.”

Third-grade teacher Elaine Reed said this year at Scenic was “definitely a roller-coaster.” But Levinson told the staff to act as if it were any other year. Reading assistant Michelle Prall said the school community stuck together throughout the ups and downs.

“It’s a community of students, parents and teachers. We all work together,” she said.

Scenic mom Carissa Davis said Wednesday she was “devastated” when she heard Scenic may close. She attended community budget forums and meetings at the school to help support keeping Scenic open.

“I think we all brain-stormed enough how to keep it open and expressed how it would negatively affect people if it closed,” she said.

Sean Lynch has two kids at Scenic and will add another to the student population next year. He said he and his wife picked the school based on a short visit while they were sorting out a move to Grand Junction from St. Louis, Mo. They were still unpacking boxes in their new home when they learned the school may close.

“Now that it sounds like things are going to work out we’re really happy,” Lynch said.

Scenic may be off a list of $5.76 million in budget adjustments presented to the School Board Tuesday, but there is no guarantee the district will not have to make a fifth year of budget cuts in 2013-14. If closure is mentioned again, Davis said she’ll fight again to keep the school open. Her 9-year-old daughter, Fallyn, doesn’t want to let go of her school.

“All the teachers are really nice and there are kids that are really nice here,” Fallyn said.

Scenic Parent-Teacher Organization President Jenny Hall said she’s elated with the School Board’s decision nearly two months later.

“I can’t imagine going somewhere else,” she said. “I think people are just really excited about the school and what’s happening.”


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