School board members expect a large, emotional crowd to show up for the public hearing on the potential school closings at 6 p.m. Monday.
"I'm hoping people will come out and let us know what they feel. I've been through school closures before, not on the board but as the public," said Lori Baer, board president.
"I'm hoping that there is some public there to give us some comments on what they feel should be done," said Board member Karen Harris.
Board member Jay Shultz said he knows groups will have good reasons why not to close each building but the board must make a decision.
"There's going to be a group of people that doesn't want to see either building closed," he said. "The truth is, I would like to keep both buildings."
Baer said she can empathize with the students and parents as her elementary school recently was closed.
"They just closed my elementary school and it's difficult," she said. "We're in a time when we have to make some difficult decisions."
Board member Jerene Milliken said she expects an "emotionally charged" night.
"I think there are a couple of things that rile people up more than anything and that would be probably the closing of a school and closing of a church," she said.
Board member David Stone Jr. said he knows it's tough to close a school and expects the public to show support for their building.
"I expect people will come and share their concerns," he said. "Normally whenever you contemplate closing a building there are people that would like to see the building remain open."
Shultz mentioned his students attended a school that was closed, so he understands how the community feels. But he also knows a decision must be made for the good of the district as a whole.
"The decision to close a building is so difficult ... It's emotionally difficult so there are going to be parents and students who are going to have great memories, teachers and programs that I think should continue. But what we're trying to do ... is make a good decision for the district," he said.
Thomas Zimmerman, board vice president, agreed that it's a "tight situation" saying, "It's the most difficult decision you make because you know people have connections to these buildings."
Baer expects those directly affected by the school closings, such as students and teachers, to attend the public meeting but hopes those of the older demographic attend as well to voice their opinions.
Shultz said he will not make a decision based on the support as he doesn't want to choose one school just because a group is more vocal.
Baer added that she's glad that students are proud of their buildings and love their community schools.
"I think it's great that people have that ownership of their schools," she said.
But she also added: "We have such high-quality educators that I would never have a problem putting my children in any of the buildings."
Board member Dr. Jane Penman expects a strong showing from parents who will fight for their students' school to stay open. Board member Dale Vollman said he's not sure what to expect but always welcomes the public to share their feelings.
Although they would rather not see any building closed, board members said it's a product of the times.
"It's tough economic times. I know where some of the issues lie but finger pointing's not good. We need to say, 'This is the situation and this is the best decision,' " Zimmerman said.
"It's sad that we have to go this direction," Baer added. "It's very sad to me."