Far-reaching EACS plan approved, 6-1
Elementary schools in Monroeville and Hoagland will be closed as part of a $6.8 million annual cost-cutting plan approved Tuesday evening by the East Allen County Schools' board of education.
The possible closure of six elementary schools and the transformation of Paul Harding High School into a magnet school had first been announced last month by EACS Superintendent Karyle Green in light of the district's financial shortfall.
Along with the Monroeville and Hoagland elementary schools, the plan approved 6-1 by the board on Tuesday calls for the closure of Harlan, Meadowbrook, Village and Woodburn elementaries. Under the plan, Heritage and Woodlan schools will house students in grades kindergarten through 12.
The reconfiguration plan turns Harding into a career- and college-focused magnet school and creates early-childhood academies at Highland Terrace and Southwick elementaries.
According to the Journal-Gazette of Fort Wayne, Green said during the board's meeting on Tuesday that more budget cuts could be necessary if voters fail to approve an $8 million referendum in November.
The superintendent said the renovation and construction in the plan will cost the district $39.5 million in addition to projects already planned. By the time the projects are complete, she said, the average age of the district’s buildings will drop by 15 years. Details of the plan, including where students will go during the transition phase, will be voted on at a later board meeting.
School officials have been considering ways to transform the district since last winter. Without school closures, Green has warned, the district would be insolvent by 2013.
Alyssa Lewandowski, who represents the New Haven community, was the sole board member to vote against the plan.
Green said that if the voter referendum is approved next month, the district could use the funds for operation costs, adding teachers, expanding summer school offerings and college preparation courses, and increasing Advanced Placement offerings, among other measures.
About 120 people attended the school board meeting at New Haven High School.