Sylvan Union School District trustees will not consider closing a school this year, but will look at realigning school boundaries for 2011-12.
At the board meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent John Halverson estimated annual savings at $341,402 for closing any of the district's nine elementary or three junior high schools. Halverson told trustees that the early district enrollment figure for this year is one student less than last year's total.
"We're not recommending that you pursue this," Halverson told the board.
The trustees agreed, voting unanimously to take the closure option off the table.
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"I say it ends tonight," Trustee George Rawe said.
"We do need to know the legalities for if we ever get to that point, which I certainly hope we don't," Trustee Terriann Zeek said.
Later this year, the board will consider changing school boundaries for 2011-12 to even out enrollment. The district hopes to have about 500 students per school, Halverson said.
The size of classes, however, was of more immediate concern.
The district laid off teachers, raised elementary class sizes and created three dual-grade classes to save money this year.
Board President David Collins' child was one of 42 kindergartners who started in one class, he noted. The class since has split into two classes, and class size has settled at 30 to 32 children per elementary class.
Veteran teacher Roberta Michelotti rose to address the issue in the public comment portion of the meeting.
Michelotti, who is retiring next year after 33 years of teaching, unfurled her kindergarten class list at the meeting. Thirty-two names in handwritten, two-line letters draped from lectern to floor -- that's in addition to her morning session with 15 kindergartners now housed in a first-grade class, she said.
"You can talk numbers all you like, but until you see the children, you don't know," she said, urging the board to consider using any federal stimulus funds to separate combination classes and lower class sizes.
Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.