West Carrollton City School District officials said they plan to vote this month on permanent shutting down Frank Nicholas Elementary School at the end of this school year. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Board votes to shut down 62-year-old elementary; declining enrollment cited

“It’s unfortunate our enrollment is on the decline,” board President Leslie Miller said.

The move is expected to save the district up to $800,000 a year, officials said.

EARLIER REPORT

Closing an elementary school that has fewer than half of the students of any of West Carrollton’s three others is to be voted on Wednesday.

Administrators in West Carrollton City Schools said Frank Nicholas Elementary needs to be shut down because of declining enrollment across the district, which include parts of Miami Twp. and Moraine.

Closing the school is a “fiscally responsible” move that will save West Carrollton between $700,000 and $800,000, Superintendent Andrea Townsend said.

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The 62-year-old Nicholas building on Vance Road in Moraine has 167 students, while the other buildings housing grades 1-5 - C.F. Holliday, Harry Russell and Harold Schnell, a year-round school – all have at least 383.

Districtwide, West Carrollton’s enrollment has dropped from 3,911 in 2015 to 3,540 last year, according to Jack Haag, business manager.

School board President Leslie Miller said she expects the board to approve the closing of Nicholas effective at the end of its school year.

“They will see the school year out,” she said. “They will close out the school year.”

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If the closing is approved, students would be “re-districted” the other three buildings housing grades 1-5, Townsend said. The deadline for Nicholas students to apply for Schnell was Feb. 15.

“They will be given preference to our year-round school,” Townsend said in an email.

Parents will be notified of placement by May 15, Townsend said. The district will seek to re-assign all 34 staff members – including 12 teachers - to other buildings, officials said.

The recommendation to close Nicholas follows a comprehensive review of district financial, enrollment and staffing data, according to the district.

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The vote comes at a time when the district is seeking state funds to rebuild its schools, a project estimated to cost between $125 million to $140 million, Haag said.

Eligibility for funding through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission program, Haag said, requires that all schools have a minimum population of 350.

But Townsend said the recommendation to close Nicholas would go forward whether the district is eligible to receive state funding to rebuild all of its schools.

The board of education is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. in the Guiler Auditorium at West Carrollton High School, 5833 Student St.

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