The Southwestern School District is expected to decide in January what it will do to deal with a shortfall in state funding and decreasing student enrollment. Earlier this week, Superintendent Brad Skertich presented the three options to the board and district residents and parents and the plan does include closing at least one elementary school and possibly creating attendance centers.
Skertich says the plan would be implemented in the next school year, so a decision is expected by the Southwestern School Board at a special meeting January 10. Skertich presented three detailed options this week with Option 1 closing Brighton West Elementary and then creating attendance centers with Brighton North holding Pre-K through Grade 2, Shipman would hold 3rd and 4th grades, and Medora holding 5th and 6th. Option 2 closes the school in Shipman, with Pre-K and first attending Brighton West, Brighton North holding 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders, and 5th and 6th going to Medora. The third Option closes Shipman and buses students to other communities. In all three options, the closed building would be used as the school district office. There are additional cost savings and other plans involved, but the main concern of many parents is which schools would close and where their students will go to class. Skertich predicts a continued decrease in the student population of about 20 to 30 students annually over the next ten years which would also mean an automatic decrease in state funding on top of what the state is already behind to the Southwestern School District.