Volusia County Schools to consider closing decades-old Read-Pattillo Elementary

Volusia County Schools is considering closing Read-Pattillo Elementary, a decades-old school, much to the surprise of parents and teachers.

"We're just completely devastated that this has just been dropped on us," PTA president Danielle Sandhagen said Friday.

She was one of about a dozen parents and teachers who met with FOX 35 Friday afternoon to voice their concerns. They learned about the proposal just hours before after a former teacher shared a screenshot of a presentation slide in next week's school board meeting agenda.

"We were all completely devastated. We absolutely love our school. It's a small school. We are a family, and we couldn't believe that this was happening to us again," Sandhagen said.

A slide in a presentation about next school year's attendance boundary changes is titled "Closure of Read Pattillo Elementary." While it doesn't go into much more detail, it lists several safety concerns, including roofing and plumbing. 

"This school is not just an elementary school. It's not just about academics. It's about loving families, loving our community, supporting them," kindergarten teacher Cindy Crandall said.

Crandall has taught at the school for more than three decades and was once a student herself. She says the condition the school is in should not come as a surprise to district leaders.

"I have walked the hallways with numerous superintendents from Volusia County Schools to show them the paint that's peeling off of the walkways, to show them the rotted wood, to show them the mold that's growing," she said.

Another presentation slide details where Read-Pattillo students would go as part of the closure. Some would be rezoned to Chisholm Elementary and others to Edgewater Elementary. The move would also force some students at Edgewater to go to Indian River Elementary. 

"Our students are going to fall through the crack, and I don't want that to happen," parent Christi Franz said.

FOX 35 reached out to Volusia County Schools to learn more about next week's discussion and whether a decision has been finalized. No one from the district was available for an on-camera interview Friday afternoon, but a spokesperson provided the following statement:

The school board meeting where board members plan to discuss the potential closure is on Tuesday, Oct. 10, and begins at 4:30 p.m.

As of Friday afternoon, Sandhagen says parents had yet to be notified by the district of next week's proposal. Crandall says the school's principal confirmed the news to teachers Friday morning.