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'It was the right decision': Supt. Muñoz talks Friedell closure

Miguel Octavio
Created: September 16, 2020 10:39 PM

(ABC 6 News) - One school in Rochester will close by the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

Friedell Middle School will be repurposed starting fall 2022. A task force to review its fate started Nov. 2018. 

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Rochester Public School Board members reached a 5-2 verdict Tuesday.

"We really are trying to make the best decisions that we believe is best for our students and our system," said RPS Superintendent Michael Muñoz.

Friedell has never been an ideal place for a school, sitting on a busy intersection, but some of Rochester's most gifted students are enrolled there. That made the board's decision that much tougher.

Looking ahead, Muñoz said the highly gifted program will expand into other local schools. Muñoz also said he doesn't anticipate job losses among staff.

"I doubt we will have to make any cuts," Muñoz said. "I really anticipate those current staff will have a job in our district somewhere."

Muñoz also said the district has to abide by staff contracts and regulations. RPS's new middle school is also expected to open by fall 2022.

It would've cost the district $1.3 million each year to keep Friedell open due to staffing and overhead costs, according to the district. On top of budgeting, some board members cited lack of diversity and equity as concerns. 

Supt. Muñoz said he's hopeful this was a necessary move in the long run.

"Definitely, there are some people that are sad by that decision, but I think as we look at what's best for the entire system, it was the right decision to make," Muñoz said. 

Friedell also serves as an option for families who prefer to enroll their kids in smaller schools aside from its gifted program. At least 18,000 students attend the Rochester Public School district. 


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