The Newton School District is considering closing an elementary building as part of its efforts to save money to make up for declining enrollment and the budget cut from the state. Superintendent Steve McDermott says the district needs to cut between 2.2 and 2.5 million dollars.
McDermott says he believes the district can make “several thousand dollars worth of reductions without harming the offerings that we provide the kids, and that’s what our goal is.” He says some of the cuts will be more difficult than others, but he says it looks like they can do some downsizing “without a lot of pain.”
The discussions include cutting the number of elementary schools from five to four. McDermott says realigning the buildings and cuts in personnel and programs will still leave the district short of its cost-cutting goal. He says that will leave them with two options.
McDermott says one is to make more cuts, the other is to raise the tax levy. He says the district needs to do the best it can to make reductions wherever it can to minimize the harm to the programs offered students without raising the levy. “But I think we will to consider a slight raising possibly of the levy on top of these very, very significant cuts,” McDermott says.
Public meetings will be held at each elementary school in February to discuss the realignment alternatives for the schools.
By Randy Van, KCOB, Newton