ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A St. Louis mom says a neighborhood school saved her kids, and now she wants to save their school. Mann Elementary is in danger of shutting down. It's one of two historic buildings in jeopardy in the Tower Grove neighborhood.
Both Mann Elementary and nearby Shenandoah Elementary need improvements. But instead of renovating Mann, the district is considering shutting it down. The move would leave the large, historic building vacant, which has stood as a foundation for its neighborhood for more than a century. Now, its neighborhood is fighting to keep it there.
"This is a treasure," Maryanne Dersch said.
Maryanne's 7-year-old daughter has autism. She chose to transfer her to Mann this year, after looking at public and private schools all across the area.
"She's really thriving. Last year she was not speaking or writing. This year she's getting in trouble for yelling up and down the halls," Maryanne said.
But soon, Maryanne may not have the option to send her children to Mann. The district may close the school, sending students to nearby Shenandoah.
"I want them to make decisions based on what's best for children, not on what's best for the electric and utility bills," Maryanne said.
But Shenandoah isn't safe from some major changes either. One proposal the District is considering involves tearing down the historic building to build a new, larger school in its place. It's a decision some say could hurt the Tower Grove neighborhood, which has been thriving.
"People move into the city, especially Tower Grove East, for a specific purpose. One of them is usually how beautiful the architecture is. I don't think that Shenandoah Elementary's site is the best place for a brand new building," said St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia.
So some are fighting for the second proposal, which would involve a renovation of the existing building. But it still wouldn't save Mann School.
"In an ideal world both schools will stay open," Ingrassia said.
Maryanne still has faith that's a possibility. So, she'll keep fighting to keep the doors to her kids' school open until they're closed for good.
"My kids are thriving. I don't really care that we need new windows or that the bathrooms could use an update. My kids are learning," Maryanne said.
The board is meeting a week from tonight, and the Superintendent tells Alderwoman Ingrassia he will make his recommendation at that meeting. Parents are urging people to come voice their opinions in hopes of saving Mann School. NewsChannel 5 reached out to the St. Louis Public School District for comment on this story Thursday, but we have not heard back.