Central Plains Schools District to close one school: ‘If my child’s school closes, I’ll leave’

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USD 112 Central Plains school district is looking to save $600,000 for district improvements, but it’s going to cost a hefty price. 

“If we lose the school, any part of it, we won’t recover from that,” said David Criswell, USD 112 parent. “Towns don’t recover from that, and we don’t want our family in a dying town.”

Just recently, the district announced they’re looking at ways to save $600,000 because they’re overstaffed and don’t have enough students to operate in its four buildings.

“The state is given us what we should get,” Superintendent Greg Clark said. “It’s just when you’re operating four buildings, you have increased expenses and operating those buildings.”

Clark said with the money saved, he hopes he can improve classrooms and add new programs, such as robotics.

“The students are our number one priority,” Clark said. 

However, these improvements come with a hefty price.

Currently, the school board is looking at four options to save money, all of them including closing a school and transporting a portion of students across the district for the next school year.

Option 1:

  • Closing Central Plains Middle School (CPMS) moving the 7th and 8th graders to Central Plains High School (CPHS) and 5th and 6th graders to Central Plains Elementary School (CPES)

  • Total savings: $607,300

  • Costs: $333,165 to relocate HVAC to CPES

Option 2:

  • Moving 7th and 8th to CPHS, Moving 4th grade to Bushton as it becomes Central Plains Intermediate School and CPES becomes a PK -3 building

  • Total savings: $477,100

  • Costs: $850,000 HVAC CPES, $1,300,000 HVAC at CPHS

Option 3:

  • CPES: PK-4, Central Plains Middle School (CPMS): 5-8, CPHS: 9-12, Bus Wilson 7-12 down to the south end and Wilson becomes a PK- 6 building. In this option that you need to realize with the loss of students from Wilson with the bussing could still necessitate changes on the South end.

  • Total savings: $451,882

  • Costs: Bussing $53,000, HVAC at CPES: $850,000, Lost students: $350,000

Option 4:

  • Closing CPES and moving the elementary to Bushton. Move the 7th and 8th graders to CPHS

  • Total savings:

  • Costs: Adding additional classrooms X3 at the Buston Facility and changing science classrooms to elementary classrooms and other upgrades to make Bushton and Elementary Building.

Known costs:

  • HVAC at CPES: $850,000

  • HVAC at Wilson: $2,000,000

“We’re still going to have to keep the rest of the building open if the board chooses option #3,” said Nate Pasek, USD 112 parent. “We’re still going to have to keep it heated and aired. Our expenses aren’t going to go down because it’s all under one roof. It doesn’t make any sense taking out some of the kids.”

If Wilson High School closes, Pasek also said his child will be traveling 30 minutes each way to Claflin.

“My wife and I talked, and we don’t feel that the commute makes much sense,” he said. “We don’t feel the roads are that good to put our kids on it every single day.”

A long commute that both Pasek and Criswell said they’ll take their children out of the district if their school is closed.

The Central Plains School Board is meeting Monday, January 14, 2018 at 6 p.m. in Holyrood to discuss the options. The public is welcome to come and voice their concerns.

Wilson parents are also gathering this Friday, January 11, 2018 at 5 p.m, in the Wilson School Commons to sign a petition.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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