Northeastern Local School District leaders say they want to make sure the community is educated on potential options for new schools that could cost more than $100 million before a scientific survey is launched in the coming months.
Officials at Northeastern — the second largest school district in Clark County serving around 3,200 students — say they are desperate for new school buildings citing electrical, spacing and other needs.
The board of education held a special meeting Wednesday night where a group of about 100 people gathered at South Vienna Elementary and Middle School to discuss the remaining options for the district.
“This is truly about what the community wants,” Superintendent John Kronour said during the meeting. “We want to find the plan that is going to work for the community.”
The school district started with six plans and narrowed the selection to two following a survey taken at a community forum last month.
The survey showed the first choice among residents who attended the event was to build two new PreK-12th grade buildings, which would keep the district split in two high schools. The second choice was to build two PreK-eighth grade school buildings and one high school, for a total of three schools.
Residents of the district have been split about consolidating schools for years and the results of the preliminary results of the non-scientific survey showed that not much has changed.
The state has offered to pay 40 percent of the overall costs, which could be about $103 million for the two-building plan and $106.7 million for the three-school proposal.
Kronour said at the meeting he understands some people have strong feelings about consolidation, whether they are for or against it. But he appealed to residents’ sense of community to help get new schools
“Some people will have to say, ‘You know what, I didn’t get exactly the plan I wanted, but I know the facilities are important to our district,’” Kronour said.
The meeting held Wednesday included principals from each of the districts current five schools discussing how the two options could change schooling at Northeastern. Kenton Ridge High School Principal John Hill and Northeastern High School Principal Ally Thurman said a consolidated building could lead to more academic opportunities for students.
“Currently in a PreK-12 setting, we don’t see a whole lot of difference than what we currently already have,” she said. “If we look at a consolidated building, we could have English electives. We could offer more science electives, math electives, foreign language, possibly both school could have opportunities in both and maybe a third language.”
Because more students will be at a consolidated high school, she said offering more classes would be more feasible.
A consolidated high school also would save the district money as well, the two principals said, including nearly $400,000 a year on teachers alone.
The administration team was clear that they don’t have a preference on either option and that what the community decides they will pursue.
Northeastern is the last district in Clark County to have two high schools. Both buildings are aging — Kenton Ridge was built in 1976 and Northeastern was built in 1952.
The meeting wasn’t without its contentious points. An unidentified man got up and left after Kronour said the cost of building new schools could cost an owner of a $100,000 home about $250 a year. He said those cost are still estimated.
Others in the crowd said they would support it anyway.
“They supported you when you went to school, the community did, you have to keep supporting our kids. This is our future,” a woman in the crowd said after the man left.
Kronour said the next meeting for school buildings will be at 6 p.m. April 12 at Kenton Ridge High School. The scientific survey results will be released then and he encouraged registered voters to come out and participate at the event.
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