Breaking News
More () »

Sorento parents seeking split from school district to save elementary school from closing permanently

In January, the Bond County School Board decided to shutter the school and split the students up across the district.

SORENTO, Ill. — School is out for summer, but for students in Sorento, Illinois, the last day was full of sadness.

“It was incredibly hard," said Melissa Goymerac."There wasn’t a dry eye on this sidewalk. Everybody was crying.”

In January, the Bond County School Board decided to shutter the elementary school and split the kids up across the district.

“They were set on closing the school," said Don Wall.

“Half of my daughter’s class will be at Pocahontas, and half of her class will be at Greenville, so next year they won’t even be together," Goymerac said.

“It really rallied the people in the town to come together and do something to resolve this issue," Wall said.

Parents like Don Wall and Melissa Goymerac got to work collecting more than 900 signatures in an attempt to separate Sorento Elementary School from the district.

“There are provisions under Illinois law that allow detachment and annexation," Goymerac said.

A petition submitted to the Regional Office of Education in Vandalia, Illinois details an attempt to split with Bond County in favor of being annexed into the Mount Olive School District.

“We’re a better cultural match with Mt. Olive," said Goymerac. "They want to keep our school open.”

Bond County Superintendent Wes Olson declined comment on this story, but told 5 On Your Side he is preparing to respond to the petition if a public hearing is scheduled.

“I think from a financial standpoint that they will object to it because they would be losing close to 10% of the tax value of the community," Wall said.

Ultimately, it will be up to the Regional Board of Education to decide if there are educational benefits behind the move.

“Every kid in this town can walk home from school right now," said Goymerac. "That will not be the case if they have to go to Greenville or Pocahontas.”

Pocahontas and Greenville are 13 and 14 miles from Sorento. 

“The attention and the care that they got from the teachers and staff here was really above and beyond," said Wall.  "The one-on-one class sizes, and the small environment is really what we’re striving to maintain.”

“Please let us do what is in the best interest of our kids," said Goymerac.  "Please let us go!”

Regional Superintendent Julie Wollerman told 5 On Your Side she is currently reviewing the petition to see if it meets the requirements for a hearing, which would have to take place before July 1 for Sorento to stay open for the upcoming school year.

At KSDK we’re focused on you, and the stories you ask us to cover. If there’s an issue you would like Holden to look into, or a story you would like to share, send an email to hkurwicki1@ksdk.com.

Before You Leave, Check This Out