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Closure of Cooke Elementary Based on Need, Not Discrimination

WGIL Newsroom . Local News 230

During last month’s Galesburg Community Relations Commission meeting, residents affected by Cooke Elementary School’s closure were invited to speak.

Commissioners listened to the community’s concern Cooke closure was purely based on discrimination.

During last night’s meeting, Commissioner Debbie Padilla shared with the commission what she learned from district officials regarding the closure. Padilla explained District 205 Director of Human Resources Diane VanHootegem told her the basis for the closure was due to non-compliance and class size.

“She says the size of the school was the main issue for the number of students that was in the school and that was one of the main reasons why they closed Cooke school, and the 70/30 rule was also another issue that they based their decision on.”

Padilla says she was provided with meeting minutes involving the Cooke decision, and did not find the district’s actions to be discriminatory.

She told the commission it basically comes down to the fact the school is too small and does not comply with the 70/30 rule regarding special education students.