Today (June 5) will be the final day that Hills Elementary School will be open to students.

The halls will no longer be filled with excited kids, the classrooms will no longer contain teachers and students will no longer be taught at this eastern Iowa elementary school. Parents and their students will have to find a new plan heading into the 2024-2025 school year.

Like many schools throughout the country, Hills Elementary School faced challenges that have sadly become too much (too expensive) to overcome. This is something we could probably read about every day if we wanted to in this country. The sad fact is that keeping this Iowa City Community School open would be too costly in the end.

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According to KCRG, the Iowa City Community School District recommended closing the school because of financial concerns. Less than one month after the recommendation, a vote was passed to shut down the school.

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The Mayor of Hills is Tim Kemp. He also is a teacher at Hills Elementary and he spoke to KCRG about how this decision caught the community off guard.

"Yeah, it’s going to be a loss to our community. We didn’t really have a chance to speak out about it much, other than maybe a school board meeting or two. Now you won’t have that school community connection because the school that our students will attend is now up in Iowa City."

It's Not All Bad! 

Other than a building change, the students AND teachers will have options next year. While adjusting to a different building may take a bit of time and the commute to school might be different, there have been guarantees made for Hills teachers/employees.

Most of the students who attended Hills Elementary will end up switching to Alexander Elementary School, which is located in Iowa City and there will be a bus route for those with longer commutes. For students who were in their last year of elementary school, this won't affect them much, as they'd be off to a brand new middle school but you can't help but feel a little bit sad for the younger kids who were getting comfortable going to the same building every day.

As far as the teachers and employees of Hills, they have been guaranteed positions within the school district for next year.

While it is a sad day for students and teachers at Hills Elementary, Tim told KCRG, they'll survive.

"It’s going to be a little bit painful, but we’ll survive. Our kids will go on and get a good education in the Iowa City School District, but it’s it’s still tough to lose that school and the things that we did with the school."

Closing the school will save the district $1.6 million and future plans for the school building have not been released.

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