The other shoe has dropped. Lawrence and Franklin Townships in northeast and southeast Marion County are figuring out how to deal with declining revenue. I’ll get a lot of slack for this, but I’m not opposed to closing school buildings:
The Lawrence Township School Board decided tonight to close Craig Middle School, send sixth-grade students to elementary schools instead of middle schools and use the system’s remaining middle schools for 7th and 8th graders only.
“Nobody wants to close a school building,” said Susan Fuldauer, School Board president. “These are really difficult times that this district has never seen. This is a really tough decision, and this board is not making this decision very lightly.”
And in Franklin Township:
Franklin Township Schools Superintendent Walter Bourke presented a multi-pronged plan to shave $4.8 million from the general fund and $1 million from the transportation fund in an effort to balance the district’s budget.
That plan includes closing Acton and Wanamaker elementaries and the Diploma Plus center.
Under the plan, Kitley Intermediate School would become an elementary school and Edgewood Intermediate School would become a kindergarten and early childhood center.
Additionally, the changes would free up space at the elementary level and all fifth-grade students would be moved to those buildings. Sixth-grade students would then relocate to the district’s two middle schools.
My initial question is why no one thought of this already. I don’t even know what an “intermediate” school is. For every school building constructed, you have to construct a separate cafeteria, gym, music, band and art rooms and hire additional staff like secretaries and custodians. The fewer buildings, the fewer expenses and the higher the savings.
This came up in Salem years ago. The problem arose that the elementary school needed more room and the two leading proposals were either an expansion or a whole new school at the edge of the county. Because the additional school would have resulted in higher taxes, more staff, purchases and expenses, they just expanded the existing building and saved untold millions.
This isn’t that hard, people.