A formal recommendation to close the Rocky Ridge Elementary School building is expected to be presented this week to the Benton-Carroll-Salem Board of Education.
Superintendent Diane Kershaw, who recommended the closing to the board at its Dec. 15 special meeting, said declining enrollment is the primary reason for the facility and finance committees to decide closing the school is the best option for the district.
The board is scheduled to meet Jan. 11.
“Due to declining enrollment, we have an opportunity to combine our elementary buildings which will lead to additional operational efficiencies,” she said in a prepared statement.
The proposed plan would close Rocky Ridge Elementary School and move fifth grade students to the middle school. Students in the kindergarten through the fourth grade who attend Rocky Ridge would attend R.C. Waters School next school year.
Moving fifth graders to the middle school eliminates the need for portable classrooms at any school, according to the school board.
Closing Rocky Ridge was one of several options the board has been considering to reduce costs.
Others proposals that were under consideration include:
• Maintain the facilities as they are now and reducing staff through attrition.
• Closing two “outlying” elementary buildings or closing two and moving the fifth grade to the middle school.
• Closing two outlying elementary buildings and move the fifth grade to the middle school and eighth grade to the high school.
• Closing two outlying elementary buildings and move fourth and fifth grades to the middle school and eighth grade to the high school.
The school board has been soliciting input from the public on the proposals since discussing them during an Oct. 26 work session.
Some parents of students attending Rocky Ridge school distributed a letter in November that said the district administration was focusing too much on closing facilities – Rocky Ridge in particular.
Ron Overmyer, president of the school board, said recently the board will have to decide this month if it wants to place a levy on the May ballot.
The board will use this week’s meeting to organize for 2011.