Schalmont to close two schools

"It makes us more efficient. Our buildings are at a fuller capacity, and as we move forward in our budgetary process, the board's focus has been to maintain programs. This will enable us to do a better job at that," said Kelsey.

After the efficiency report was released early in the school year, there were several community forums held to get input on what direction the district could move in. The general consensus seemed to be that doing nothing would not be an option for the district, said Board of Education President Kevin Thompson.

"Certainly there are some mixed feelings in the community," said Shari Lontrato, principal of Woestina. "I think it was definitely positive in the way the decision was made. There was a lot of input from everybody in the community. Everyone that was a community resident was invited to participate in those [discussions]."

The transition process is also just getting started, because there will be a committee formed in the fall to discuss the structure of the middle school program. Fifth-graders will still be bused with elementary students and have traditional formatting to classes separate from other middle school students. Before the transition, feedback is being sought from faculty, administration and parents on how to best implement the transition. Also, concerns that were brought up during community budget forums will be addressed by district officials.

"I think the kids will really come through the transition well," said Lontrato.

As far as the two closed buildings are concerned, Kelsey said the plan is to find income through usage of the buildings. Thompson has previously said he would like to see the facilities continued to be used to benefit the community too.

"The surrounding community is still vibrant and attracting new property owners," said Thompson. "The board's goal is of course to find similarly successful functions for the Mariaville and Woestina buildings."

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