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IC School Board Votes To Close Hoover

IOWA CITY (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- Board members in Iowa City Community School District voted Tuesday night on a plan to close Hoover Elementary.

The plan, meant to deal with overcrowding in the district, also includes building two new elementary schools, along with a third high school.

"I'm stunned. I'm appalled at their disregard for the public's opinion," said University of Iowa professor Gregory Howes. 

Howes said he thinks the board had its mind made up before Tuesday night's meeting, and thought it didn't even consider the two plans presented in their packets. 

Howes presented an alternate plan to the board during the meeting that he said could have kept Hoover open while increasing space at City High School. 

"So they have simply voted to close a successful and vibrant neighborhood school," Howes said. 

Many parents also felt the board wasn't giving them enough answers for how Hoover would be used for City High's expansion. Some said they wouldn't be willing to trade the school for parking lots or extra practice fields. 

"It is your job and your duty as elected officials to answer these questions before closing any school," said Melanie Sigafoose. 

But the board came back, saying new data on future enrollment or costs could be found every day, and they were simply acting on the steering committee's recommendations. 

"It's not a snap decision that we're making we've spent many hours, many days, many months on this," said board member Sally Hoelscher. 

It's a decision a long time coming that will affect students, like 6-year-old Lily Lumb -- who also spoke out at the meeting -- for years to come. 

"I think Hoover's special because I can walk to school. And I like it because I don't really like to drive that much. And I don't really want to lose any of my friends and I like to play on the playground. Please do not close Hoover," Lumb said. 

The closure won't happen before the 2017-18 school year, and there is no firm date for its closure past that time. 

Board members also said they had heard from parents who supported Hoover's closure, but were afraid to speak out. 

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