Consultants provide Craig parents with data to inform school closure process | CraigDailyPress.com

Consultants provide Craig parents with data to inform school closure process

Parents, school staff and members of the board of education attended presentations about the closure of an elementary school, presented by the Blythe Group at all six Craig schools this week.

CRAIG — One of Craig's elementary schools will be selected for closure in December, and this week, consultants presented initial data on each school to parents, school staff and school board members.

Closing a school is expected to save Moffat County School District about $700,000 per year.

"That's almost equal to a 2-mill tax increase. If we can achieve those savings, then we can do more and better things for our kids," Superintendent Dave Ulrich said.

The Blythe Group was hired as a consultant to help provide data to determine which of the four elementary campuses should close.

"No decision has been made. What we are trying to accomplish tonight is to put objective information out there and to have folks walk away seeing this is something we need to do," Ulrich said during a community meeting Wednesday.

A series of hour-long meetings — one at each school in Craig — provided the first look at data compiled by the Blythe Group and acted as a listening session for consultants.

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"These are facts we have gathered. No options or decisions have made yet," said Blythe Group Vice President and Project Manager John Potter.

The data consider 15 to 20 measures, including district enrollment, school size, school age, number of walking students, efficiency, repair cost, replacement cost and marketability.

From the data, four closure scenarios — one for each school — will be created. It will then be up to the school board and district administrators to choose which school will be closed.

"No matter what building is closed, you will have people who have given decades of their lives to that school. So, I don't want anyone to leave thinking that we take this lightly," Ulrich said.

After the decision is made in December, the district will spend several months honoring the school and transitioning school resources to the remaining three campuses.

"Most of those teachers will be redeployed," Ulrich said. "We don't have less kids to educate; we will just be educating them more efficiently."

Attendance at most of the meetings was low, and more staff members than parents were present, said school board member Chris Thome.

Data will be again be presented at the Moffat County School Board of Education workshop, set for 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 in the boardroom of the Administration Building, 775 Yampa Ave.

After the presentation, the data will become available on the school district website. In the coming weeks, the Craig Press will unpack the data and interview experts and community members.

Readers who have an opinion to contribute are invited to contact Business, Education and Health Care Reporter Sasha Nelson at snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or 970-875-1794.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

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