Group rallies last efforts to save Southeast High School

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WICHITA, Kansas — The Wichita Board of Education will vote on the future of Southeast High School next Monday.

They’re voting to either keep the school and renovate the building or close it and move it to a new location.

One of these bright young faces could one day be attending the new Southeast High School that’s if the board votes to move the high school 12 miles away from its current location on Edgemoor and Lincoln to start fresh at Pawnee and 127th East.

“Schools are an investment in the community and neighborhood,” said avid supporter. “When you lose that you lose all kinds of vitality.”

Members from the Coalition to Save Southeast met to voice their concerns Thursday afternoon at the Northeast Public Library.

They believe if the board votes yes to build a new $54 million dollar school then the neighborhood where Southeast has stood for five decades would take a hit.

“Now you’re making it extra hard for us to revitalized our neighborhoods because you’re taking away a key component is our high school,” said Kansas State Rep. Jim Ward, District 88.

These proposed options are part of the $370 million dollar bond issue approved by voters back in November of 2008.

The bond promised to expand and renovate southeast, plus build another new school in southeast Wichita.

“I will say it is over both demoralizing and difficult to hear members of the community say we were deceived,” said Sandra Rankin, Education Chair for NAACP in Wichita.

In addition to the option of keeping Southeast at its current location and renovating the building, school board members are also looking at another option– closing and moving the school so they can use the building for something else.

Depending on the outcome, board members say the Southeast building could be use to house district offices or classes for Wichita Technical College.

“A lot of people think we’re going to abandon the neighborhood,” said Jeff Davis, Vice President for Wichita Board of Education. “We’re not going to do that. We’re not doing that.”

The board is expected to vote on the proposed options Monday at North High School.

Supporters are planning to demonstrate outside at around 5:30 p.m.

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