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Hola es su centro para mantenerse informado, compartir ideas y conectarse con recursos. (Hola is your hub to stay informed, share ideas, and connect with resources in northern Illinois.)

Belvidere District 100 votes to keep Perry Elementary open after community push

The Belvidere District 100 school board voted not to close Perry Elementary School.

The crowd -- packed with Perry staff, teachers, parents, and students -- celebrated. Many smiled and wiped away tears as the “no” votes rolled in.

Catherine Insley is a Perry parent. She was proud that the community came together to make their voice heard.

“We really did feel like it was totally done— we had no chance,” she said. “So, for us to feel like us coming together actually changed their minds? It's everything. I’ve got a 1st grader and now my second son will be able to go to kindergarten with him. So, I'm really excited.”

Michael Scott is also a parent with two kids at Perry. After the meeting, he was feeling what a lot of families and staff were feeling.

“Relief, but also want to make sure that we, as the parents, keep up this energy,” he said.

He wants to make sure the board now invests in their 127-year-old neighborhood school so it works for all students.

The building has deferred maintenance and needs a new roof. It lacks an elevator and can't offer a dual language program. It’s also the smallest school in the district.

That's why Scott was a little surprised by the vote. He thought there was a good chance they’d vote to shutter the school. He was considering moving out of Belvidere if Perry closed, but now, this changes things.

The final vote was 6-1 not to close Perry. It comes after well over a year of district planning, studies, and finally several tense community forums over the past few months.

Peter joins WNIJ as a graduate of North Central College. He is a native of Sandwich, Illinois.