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Parents concerned about the school's closure

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Garden City Early Learning Academy is known to Fort Pierce residents as a landmark. The school was opened in 1962.

Chris Williams, a local resident, said generations of his family have attended the Pre-K to second grade school.

"I went to this school," said Williams. "My mother went to this school, my father went to this school. My cousins and other family members went here."

And now, his five-year-old daughter, Sade, is enrolled.

"It looks the same way it did when I went here," he mused.

Sade has been sad ever since Williams told her the St. Lucie County school board voted Tuesday night to close her school, in light of budget constraints. ‪She's one of approximately 300 students who will be reassigned next year, as well as more than 50 employees. ‬

"Now you're going to have a bunch of kids who will end up having to go to a school too far away," said Williams. "We need to keep the politics out of schools."

"We had to cut $15 million from our budget," said Janice Karst, Public Information Officer for St. Lucie County school district. "(We have) declining revenues from the state, declining property taxes from St. Lucie County, as is everywhere in the state of Florida."

Closing Garden City will save more than $791,000, but Karst said the teachers will still keep their jobs.

"Children will still be in our classrooms, so they'll still need teachers," she said.

Williams wishes the school board would have found a way to keep the academy open. It's a school he remembers well, but it will soon only be a memory.

"It's really going to cause a lot of problems for the people who live here locally, who basically will have to change their life for this," Williams said.


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