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Greenon to close one school

District seeks public’s advice on realigning schools as part of cost-saving move.

The Greenon Local School District will consolidate its K-12 programs into three buildings when Hustead Elementary School closes at the end of the current school year.

District leaders and staff will begin talking with the community about how best to do that at a public forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, in the cafeteria of Indian Valley Middle School.

“We recognize that consolidation … will mean many changes for Greenon’s students, staff and families,” said Superintendent Dan Bennett.

Bennett said consolidation is needed “to get our expenses under control” in the face of declining enrollment, rising building maintenance costs and district voters’ defeat of bond issues in May and November that would have raised money to modernize the schools.

“We believe there will be significant cost savings … and operational efficiencies” that can be put back into the academic program, he said.

This year, both Hustead and Enon Elementary schools teach grades K-4, Indian Valley Middle School houses grades 5-8, and Greenon High School teaches grades 9-12.

In the realignment, the district plans to move grades 7-12 into the high school, using a separate wing for grades 7 and 8, then distribute grades K-6 into the two remaining schools.

Although lower grades will be in Enon Elementary and older students in the current Indian Valley Middle School, where the grades will be divided is still up in the air.

Bennett said the high school operation is “still in its planning stages” as well.

“We know we’re going to have to share some gym space and lunchroom space,” he said, but the district is going to try to apply to the state’s Straight A grant program to help outfit laboratories so seventh and eighth graders can stay in the separate wing for science.

“I hope people will come out to the forum to provide some input to make sure we’re looking at every possible thing to get it right,” he said.

The district is forming committees to help make decisions about the 7th through 12 grade building, how best to manage the move, and what to do with the vacated Hustead building.

Those interested in participating may volunteer at the forum or call Megan Anthony, district executive assistant and communications coordinator, at 937-864-1202 ext. 1000.

“I know it’s not a popular move” to close a school, Bennett said, “and we certainly wouldn’t do it if we didn’t have to.”

But he said it doesn’t make sense “to be on the ballot constantly” when “clearly it is not a good time” and called the forum “truly an effort to listen to our community.”

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