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Parents, community protest potential closure of Melrose Elementary

Published: Jan. 8, 2021 at 10:02 PM EST
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MELROSE, Fla. (WCJB) - To the people of the Melrose community, Melrose Elementary is more than just a school. It’s a staple, a supporter of local businesses and a part of their history.

“Oh, we will not go down without a fight,” said parent Mary Ruhmpohl.

A revitalization plan proposed by Putnam County Superintendent Rick Surrency calls for the closure of the elementary school along with E.H. Miller, Jenkins Middle, Mellon Elementary and Miller Middle.

“And I plan to still be a parent here,” added Ruhmpohl. “I have an 8-month old that I plan on sending to school here in a few years.”

It’s cause for opposition for the parent and alumni.

“I’m not against revitalizing schools in our county. I don’t think anyone here are against revitalizing schools. We do, we have too many crumbling schools. Melrose is not one of them.”

Closing the five schools makes the district eligible for Special Facilities Funding from the state.

“We’re not trying to leave anyone out and we want everyone to have every opportunity to communicate,” added Superintendent Surrency. He’s proposing to use the funds the district gets from the change to build nine brand new school facilities in 10 years time.

“Wherever the students go, the staff follows,” mentioned Surrency. “So we expect this culture to join the culture of the other school and to be an even richer culture and that’s going to be one school.”

Putnam County schools has an online form so people can submit their opinion of the revitalization plan ahead of their school board meeting on Tuesday.

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