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All PES schools to remain open

PRINCETON -- The Princeton Elementary School board voted 6-1 Monday to adopt the administration's recommendation that all attendance centers remain open for the 2004-2005 school year. Moreover, the Dover Road Administration Office will also be spared, at least until grade siting can be evaluated with all of District 115 buildings operating. The team of administrators, headed by Superintendent Jim Whitmore, recommended the sale of the building, however the board decided such a move might be premature. The plan calls for Douglas School to house Bright Beginnings, Early Childhood Education and Early Beginnings students while moving kindergarten and first-grade classes to Jefferson. Lincoln School, partially due to heavy street traffic in the area, will house the older second- and third-grade students. Reagan and Logan will remain unchanged. "The traffic situation was considered, we thought, very thoroughly," Whitmore said of the administrative recommendation. "They're the professionals, and I support (the recommendation)," board president Steve Bouslog said, but added, "with the exception of closing the district office." Keeping the administrative offices open will cut $39,000 off the estimated price of reassigning the classrooms since a proposed blacktop at Logan Junior High will not be needed for the district buses. Bouslog, who told the board and about 70 members of the public gathered in the Jefferson School gymnasium that, in his opinion, "closing Reagan is the optimum decision," nonetheless voted for the measure. Meanwhile, board member Sue Whitson, who initiated the motion to allow the administrators to formulate a viable grade siting plan on Oct. 27, also agreed to the recommendation. Janet Turpen cast the only dissenting vote, saying that no one had adequately addressed transportation and other factors. "There are way too many questions to even go to grade siting," Turpen said to applause from the audience. Turpen made a motion Oct. 27 to allow administrators the option of not recommending grade siting, however, the motion was defeated by a 4-3 margin. Further, a motion by Sue Whitson to close Reagan Middle School that had been postponed was tabled by a 6-1 vote. Turpen's own motion to close the Dover Road building, postponed in November, was also tabled despite dissenting votes from Turpen and board member Doris Hamilton. A motion to direct Whitmore to have the administration building value determined before making a decision on selling it passed 5-2 with board members Kay Wallace and Bouslog dissenting. Sale of the administration building will be delayed until the worth of the offices is known as well as laws are reviewed concerning the legalities of selling publicly owned property.

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