PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — The Pasco County School Board voted to keep Lacoochee Elementary School open after an hours-long discussion between parents and board members Tuesday evening.

  • Superintendent recommended closing
  • Plan was to move students to Rodney B. Cox Elementary
  • More Pasco County stories

It was a 3-to-2 vote by the School Board following a meeting that included screaming and tears. 

The district superintendent and his staff had recommended closing the school due to declining enrollment and difficulty hiring and keeping teachers. 

Parents and students, however, fought to save their school, calling it an anchor in the community. Dozens of people packed the meeting to voice their opposition to the superintendent's proposal.

"It's unfair and kids don't deserve what they're going to get if you shut down Lacoochee Elementary," said student Nathanial Adams.

School board members argued for looking at the "big picture." They stressed that they couldn't keep every school open, especially with low enrollment.

But parents and Lacoochee supporters weren't having it.

"There hasn't been justice for this school," said Savannah Harris. "Regardless of what happens, there has not been justice."

In the end, board members recognized that Lacoochee was still "viable", they recognized its importance in the community and said if they closed it now, it would be a decision they could never take back.

The plan had the vote gone differently would have been for students to be moved to Rodney B. Cox Elementary, seven miles away from Lacoochee. The district said it would provide bus rides for all the former Lacoochee students, and portables may have been used to house the influx of new students at Cox.

Funding for Lacoochee would also have been transferred to Cox Elementary.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.