By Daniel Thompson
Reporter 

Forum Scheduled On Future Of West Elementary

 


Kimball Public Schools will be holding a public forum January 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the Kimball High School Auditorium on the subject of the potential closing of West Elementary School.

The purpose of the forum is to hear public comments and explain the benefits and reasoning behind consideration of the closure, according to Kimball Superintended of Schools Troy Unzicker.

“We’ll present plans on what we would do if the board was to close West Elementary, and what we feel are the pros and cons of closing the building. We’ll try to boil down what the educational value of leaving the building open or closing it is,” Unzicker said.

The potential closing of West Elementary is mostly due to financial concerns of the school district according to Unzicker.

“Currently, we received no equalization state aid. We’re spending as much as the state will allow us to spend. We don’t have a lot of options financially. We have to have more money to spend in other areas. There’s no new revenues coming in so our only option is if new expenses come we have to eliminate other expenses,” said Unzicker.

Should the Board of Education approve the closing of West Elementary, there is a plan in place to accommodate the students and staff of both schools.

“Everybody in West Elementary would fit into a classroom at Mary Lynch Elementary. Right now, one of the advantages is less travel for the staff. Right now, our librarian travels, our music department travels, our guidance counselor travels, our nurse travels, our principal travels--Putting it in to one building would just make more sense,” Unzicker said.

The merging of the two schools could also potentially provide a benefit to the educational programs of both schools.

“There are great advantages to having all of our staff in one building. When we’re talking professional development, that can go on during planning periods, that can go on before school or during lunch or after school. Right now, when they’re separated they can’t have those conversations except for on professional development days when we bring everyone together,” Unzicker said.

Should it be decided to close West Elementary, the move to Mary Lynch would not occur until after the end of the current school year in order to not displace students in the middle of their studies.

Depending upon what occurs at the public forum, the potential closing of West Elementary could be brought before the Board of Education as early as their February 11 meeting.

 

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