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Wasson students rally ahead of vote to close school

By Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 06 2013 12:11:46 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 06 2013 12:36:19 AM CST

Students, parents, staff and alumni rallied to save Wasson High ahead of a D-11 vote that could shut down the school. Wasson alum and baseball hall-of-famer Goose Gossage lead Tuesday's march.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

It's a down to the wire fight to save a Colorado Springs high school. Wasson High students, parents, staff and alumni rallied Tuesday ahead of Wednesday's vote to shut down the school.

Wasson alumnus and Major League Baseball Hall-Of-Famer Goose Gossage lead a 2.5 miles march from Wasson to the District 11 administration building. He was joined by at least 150 people, some holding signs and chanting as the walked through the city.

"We are Wasson couldn't be prouder, if you cant hear us, yell a little louder!" chanted students.

Gossage said the battle he's joined isn't just about his former high school.

"They're going to shut down Wasson and all of these kids are going to end up in perimeter schools," Gossage said. "So this doesn't just affect Wasson, it's going to affect the entire city of Colorado Springs."

D-11 leaders say they want to close Wasson, along with Bates and Lincoln elementary schools, because of declining student enrollment in the district and the under-utilization of those school building. Enrollment in the district has declined by 4,500 students in the last decade, and the district is facing a $2 million shortfall for the 2013-2014 school year, according to Glenn Gustafson, D-11's Chief Financial Officer.

D-11 said enrollment at Wasson has continued to fall over the years, and there's not enough students to provide a full offering of classes. If the school closed, more than 800 Wasson students would be integrated into Coronado, Doherty, Mitchell and Palmer.

Marchers on Tuesday didn't meet with D-11 officials, but stood in front of the administration building holding hands.

"I've really found a home here, and I don't want to just see it thrown away my senior year," said student Alyssa Garten.

"I've had just so many connections and it's life changing," said Chenell Brown. "I just really don't want Wasson to close."

Some Wasson staff members also joined the students.

"This entire decision is going to be made by seven people," said Greg Thomas, who head the Navy Junior ROTC.  "If we can sway one or two people to try to make the right decision, that's all we can ask for.

The D-11 school board will vote at a public meeting Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the district administration building, 1115 N. El Paso St. in Colorado Springs.

Stay with KRDO Newschannel 13 and krdo.com for the latest on the decision

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