Monday, October 10, 2011
New attendance boundaries are needed in the USD 259 school district, but before those lines can be determined, a lot of options are in play.
"To be able to factor all those things into one, that's where I think the challenge is going to be," said Betty Arnold, USD 259 BOE president.
Factors like diversity, finances, communities, roads, rivers and land use are all current options.
The current population and the projected future population of each area of the district, also plays a huge role in whether schools will remain open or closed.
"None of us like to think of having to close schools, but given where we are economically, realistically, I know that may be a possibility, and again, we're going to have to rely on what the data tells us, as well as community input to see exactly what their feelings are," said Arnold.
Another decision school officials will look at with the help of a private consulting firm, is whether five brand new schools should see delayed openings next Fall.
The schools were part of the bond issue plan passed in 2008.
Coming off of a decision to cut about $30 million from next year's budget, the district would spend nearly $12 million in start-up costs to open the five schools.
Operating expenses could cost the district as much as $24 million every year.
"It wasn't on any of our radar that we'd be faced with the economical challenges that we're faced with," said Arnold. "Those are things that we really are waiting for the public weigh-in to see what's important to them."