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Vote to close 3 schools in Stillwater district met with anger, boos

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Stillwater's school district voted to close three schools at a meeting Thursday night, a decision met by boos from those in attendance.

WCCO reports the school district voted 5-2 to close the elementary schools in Marine on St. Croix, Hugo and Stillwater, as part of a plan to shift some students to new schools to meet growing enrollment numbers in the south of the district.

The decision was met by a "roar of disapproval" from parents attending the meeting at Stillwater Junior High, who say they feel misled over a $97 million bond they previously voted for, which they believed would keep the schools open rather than close them.

The Stillwater Gazette reports those set to close are the Marine, Withrow and Oak Park Elementary Schools.

The Star Tribune reports the three schools, in the north of the district, have low enrollment projections even though Marine and Withrow – the two smallest schools in the district – are near-capacity.

The vote to close the schools, part of the district's Building Opportunities to Learn and Discover (BOLD) plan, is expected to be met with a lawsuit from opponents, the newspaper said.

According to KSTP, the district says closing the schools will "address capacity issues" and save $1.2 million a year, but opponents who spoke out before the vote disagreed with the contention there won't be enrollment growth in the north of the district.

"School administrators, board members and parents have been pitted against each other over a proposal that is fundamentally flawed," one speaker said at the meeting, according to WCCO.

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