BOND COUNTY, Ill. — Sorento Elementary School in Bond County, Illinois, will close its doors after the school year ends in May.

A majority of the Bond County Community Unit #2 District’s Board of Education voted to close Sorento Elementary school during its board meeting Wednesday night.

As parents left the meeting, many were emotional, voicing their opinions and saying their child will not be returning to the district. Some parents said they plan to keep their kids out of Sorento Elementary School Thursday, in response to the vote.

“I grew up in Sorento, it’s a great school, it’s a national blue-ribbon school, it’s kind of the heart and soul of the community,” community member Tom Varner said prior to the decision Wednesday.

Superintendent Wes Olson presented more options, that did not include closing the school at Wednesday night’s meeting, but the board voted in favor of closing the school, which has just over 100 students and a student-to-teacher ratio of 9:1.

“That school is the life of the community, I also feel that during the high covid times, closing a school and getting more students together is the worst idea possible,” said Laura Wall, a parent of three students who attended Sorento Elementary School, prior to the decision.

The board allowed for public comment during Wednesday’s meeting before the vote. Everyone who decided to speak in attendance, and on the zoom call, spoke against the closure of the school. Some people discussed the concern that property values will decrease in the area.

“Absolutely this is tough on the community,” Superintendent Wes Olson said during his presentation. He estimated that closing Sorento would save the district approximately $399,000.

The superintendent detailed why the school was on the chopping block again, which was also outlined at last week’s meeting:

  • Declining enrollment
  • Class Size Equity
  • Greater student needs due to the pandemic
  • Economic Uncertainty
  • Labor shortages

The board has not yet decided where the 107 students who attend Sorento will now be going to school starting in August.

Olson said a majority of the staff will be able to be reassigned to other schools in the district, but that approximately 5 employees would be laid off.