School District 54 is starting to look at the possible ‘reconfiguration’ of the three schools in Houston that have an overall capacity of about 53 per cent.
Secretary Treasurer Dave Margerm says talks of any school closures right now is premature.
“There’s a need to probably, over the next while, have a look at how we use our facilities down there. Basically enrollment has dropped 38 per cent in the last 20 years – a lot less kids, but we still maintain the same facilities,” says Margerm.
“The educational services we provide down there are good, they just have a lot of space… but it comes to a point, given a certain population, of trying to fund too many schools.”
The district could save around 300 thousand dollars annually if they merged both Twain Sullivan and Silverthorn into one elementary school, says Margerm. However, he says that discussion is still down the road, and right now they’re looking to the public for input. He says a closure might not have to happen.
Margerm says any decision, similar with what happened regarding the Lake Kathlyn School closure, will come down to economics. He says they have 650 thousand dollars annually for facility costs and maintenance for the 7 schools.
The school district right now has no problems with class size, says Margerm. With both elementary schools in Houston hovering around 50 per cent capacity, he says a merger wouldn’t have any ill affects on education.
This year the district has seen an enrollment decline of over 3 per cent putting them into funding protection. Margerm says they want to stay away from funding protection so there’s no adverse affects to budgeting down the road.
The District will be holding another facilities information meeting next Wednesday in Houston. That meeting will look at all the facts around capacity, enrollment decline, and how the facilities can be best utilized.