GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Dozens of people voiced their concerns with the Green Bay Area Public School District’s facility downsizing plan at a public forum at Washington Middle School on Wednesday night.

Earlier this month, a task force recommended a downsizing plan that would make the following changes to the district:

  • Beaumont, Doty, Elmore, Keller, MacArthur, Tank, Washington, Wequiock, and the district office building would close.
  • Leonardo da Vinci School would be relocated to Webster Elementary
  • Kennedy would be replaced by a new elementary school.
  • Dr. Rosa Minoka Hill School would be relocated to Lincoln Elementary
  • Franklin, Langlade, and McAuliffe would be repurposed as 4k-8 schools.

The school board will take action on the recommendation on June 5 and have been hosting public listening sessions and forums to get feedback. School officials said aging facilities, budget deficits, and a declining student population necessitated downsizing.

Many members of the public disagree that downsizing is necessary and are livid that their schools are on the chopping block.

A group of Latino community leaders have been among the most vocally opposed to the proposed downsizing plan. They said equity wasn’t considered when the task force developed the plan and having to move schools would seriously harm their children.

“As a Latina in the community, I’m really concerned about this because they are segregating us and giving us less opportunities to participate in after-school activities and have better opportunities for our future,” said parent Cinthia Martinez. “If you want to improve education give us those opportunities or don’t take the opportunities we currently have.”

Martinez and others worry that if schools get closed, kids that normally would get to walk to school would have to bus to their new schools which would limit their ability to do extracurricular activities.

Latino students make up over 30 percent of the district’s population.

“People don’t want to change they’re happy in our schools exactly the way they are,” said school board member Laura McCoy. “But we’re forced to recognize that one in four seats in our district are empty and that isn’t sustainable. Change is necessary.”

Large groups of parents and students from Leonardo da Vinci and Wequiock Schools have also been active throughout the process imploring school officials not to close their schools.