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4 Lawton elementary schools will close

LAWTON, Okla._Four Lawton elementary schools will be shut down at the end of the year because of impending state budget cuts to education.

The decision to close Swinney, Wilson, Park Lane and Brockland Elementary was announced Tuesday. Superintendent Tom Deighan relayed the decision to parents of students at Swinney Elementary during a meeting at the school Tuesday evening.

For now, students at the four elementary schools will be able to play on the playgrounds they've learned to love, but in two weeks Lawton Public Schools will be shutting the doors for good.

"It's a good chance I will be home schooling," stated Stephanie Guthrie, an upset parent.

Guthrie is upset that the district decided to close down Swinney Elementary. She chose the school after interviewing the other elementary schools.

"This is the only school she's actually content in," said Guthrie. "She loves it and now she doesn't want to go anywhere else. She refuses to come back to any school unless she comes here."

Guthrie's daughter wasn't the only student upset about the announcement.

"It was horrifying. It was breaking my heart, because this is like my second home," said Leanne Douke, 2nd-grader.

Douke is scared about going to a new school, but says it'll be ok if her friends are there. That's what Superintendent Tom Deighan promised at the meeting.

He wanted to make sure the parents know that wherever their students are next year, they'll be with familiar faces. He says the administration is making sure there will be no problems when it comes to transportation to these new schools.

"By the end of the summer, every parent will know where his or her child is going and at that time they'll know where the bus stops are. We will get the information to the parents individually and specifically about their children as they are affected," said Superintendent Deighan.

Deighan adds that even though they are closing four buildings, they will not be cutting any staff.

"One of the reasons we are making this decision is because we did not want to reduce the number of teachers or support staff in the district. We need all the people we have, we need all hands on deck. This is a matter of making what we have available as resources and making it work with what resources we have," said Superintendent Deighan.

Deighan doesn't expect any overcrowding issues. He says they have enough empty classrooms to make sure the teacher-to-student ratio stays at a good number.


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