Consultants present 9 Craig elementary school closure scenarios | CraigDailyPress.com

Consultants present 9 Craig elementary school closure scenarios

CRAIG — Consultants with the Blyth Group presented drafts of nine options and a decision matrix to the Moffat County School District Board of Directors at the board's regular monthly work session Oct. 26. They will use these tools to develop a recommendation for which Craig elementary school should be closed.

"We are going in as a neutral third party, looking at the facts to assist the district with this difficult decision and keep the process as transparent as we can," said The Blyth Group Consultant and Project Manager John Potter.

Demographer Shannon Bingham presented nine scenarios describing the school that would close, the grade configuration proposed for the remaining schools, how changes would impact school boundaries and where the administration office and early learning centers would be located.

Three of the scenarios propose closing East Elementary School, and two closure scenarios each were presented for Sandrock, Sunset and Ridgeview Elementary Schools. Initial pros and cons of each scenario were also presented.

"Sidewalks, hilly streets, cul-de-sacs, lack of bus turnarounds have been a big problem. This has a big impact on what we are going to recommend," Bingham said.

Other considerations include how much the scenario would impact new boundaries, the distribution of high needs students, the number of schools impacted, pedestrian areas, transportation of students, length of transportation time, number of staff and students to be redistributed, size and how well the scenario might accommodate specialized staff, such as music and art teachers.

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"The pros and cons will be further quantified," Potter said.

Potter presented a decision matrix — 18 criteria — that will be weighted, then used to score each of Craig's four elementary schools. The school receiving the lowest total score will be recommended for closure.

On Oct. 27, consultants met with the school district's senior leadership team, the final group asked to weigh-in on the criteria.

The scenarios and matrix work together. Once the matrix has been used to determine the lowest-ranked school, the board could choose to use one of the corresponding closure scenarios or opt to ignore the rankings and select the closure scenario they feel best serves the community, Potter said.

The Blyth Group consultants will be back in Craig Nov. 16 to present the scenarios and decision matrix to the school board.

"We are planning to go back to the new board to see if they have questions, to repeat the presentation and listen to their thoughts," Potter said.

School rankings and the recommended closure scenarios will not be shared until The Blyth Group presents its final report to the board, which is expected in December.

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

Learn more

A description of the nine closure scenarios decision matrix and other documents related to the closure of an elementary school in Craig are available online at moffatsd.org.