TCAPS board votes to close two elementary schools

Mar 8, 2016

The board of education for Traverse City Area Public Schools voted to close two elementary schools Monday night. International School at Bertha Vos and Interlochen Community School will close at the end of this school year.

The vote was unanimous to close Bertha Vos. Board member Megan Crandall was the only dissenting voice in the 6:1 vote to close Interlochen.

Crandall says TCAPS recently invested $800,000 into a new roof and gym floor for Interlochen. She also said the school’s new International Baccalaureate program has been a success, and they should give it more time to develop at Interlochen.

"It’s two years into its program," says Crandall. "We’re seeing good results ... I am finding it very difficult to get my head around the idea of closing it at this point."

Crandall suggested making Interlochen a K-8 school to help decrease the overhead cost per student. She said the district should look at cutting world languages to save money instead.

Scott Hardy says voting to close Interlochen came down to what's in the best interest of the students.

"And right now uncertainty is not in their best interest," says Hardy.

He says closing Interlochen allows the students to settle into their new school without the threat of closure. 

TCAPS Superintendent Paul Soma had previously recommended the board also close a third elementary school, Old Mission Peninsula School, in the next few years.

But last night he said, "We are in the receipt of new information regarding a donor offering over $800,000 to keep Old Mission open. It does buy us some time. However, I have not been able to work out the details of this."

Soma asked the board to postpone making a decision on Old Mission until he could bring them more information about this potential donation. Old Mission's future will likely be discussed at a board meeting in April.