GREENSBORO, N.C. — The potential closing of a special needs school in Greensboro is hitting a lot of people hard.
Parents say the Gateway Education Center is critical to its students with severe disabilities.
Parents told WFMY News 2, they received a call from school staff Friday saying the school would be closing at the end of the year.
The district hasn't commented on the possible closing, but Superintendent Dr. Sharon Contreras will present her recommendations to the school Board of Education Wednesday.
In the meantime, Lori Buck who worked at Gateway for 25 years worries about the impact a closing would have on students.
"I’ve actually just experienced the death of my father and this hurt me just about as hard," Buck said.
Parents say they were told their kids could be transferred to Haynes-Inman Education Center 15 miles away.
"These children will be on the bus some of them for two hours and with their medical difficulties that's going to be nearly impossible." Buck said." So some of them will be forced to be homebound."
Being homebound Buck says will impact students greatly, especially those who've made progress with therapies.
"Children are going to be picked up from this building and put in other places and they're going to be forgotten." Buck said.
In January, a facilities report recommended Guilford County Schools spend nearly one and a half billion dollars to fix more than two dozen schools.
It recommended some schools close altogether. Gateway was not one of them.
Guilford County Representative John Hardister says it would be a mistake to close the school.
"I respectfully urge local leaders to keep this school open so they can continue serving students with disabilities."
He went on to say in a statement:
It is concerning to hear that Guilford County Schools is discussing the closure of Gateway Education Center. This is a special school that focuses on serving students who have unique disabilities. If the school has maintenance issues, then I would strongly urge local officials to remedy those issues rather than close the school.
It is my understanding that this is the only school on the eastern side of the county that serves students with severe disabilities. It is important that we maintain access for special needs students who live on the eastern side of the county. Furthermore, the school is strategically located on East Wendover Avenue, near the new I-840 Urban Loop. This makes the school very accessible for transportation purposes.
Over the last couple of days I have heard from several parents who are concerned about the potential closure of this school. I share these concerns, and I implore the school board to refrain from closing Gateway Education Center. It is my hope that local officials will keep the school open, repair any structural issues, and continue serving students who need special attention.