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Board of Education approves closing of Market Street Elementary School

January 30, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

At Monday night's Boardman Board of Education, the board unanimously agreed to close Market Street Elementary School at the end of this school year. Superintendent Tim Saxton presented all the steps that will be taken to realign the district.

He said the three remaining elementary schools (Stadium Drive, West Boulevard, and Robinwood) would each be switched to a K-3 school building. All fourth graders would be moved into Boardman Center Middle School. To help make room, the Board of Education offices would be moved to the high school.

"This was difficult for everyone involved," said Board President Jeffrey Barone. "We had to make the best decision for 10 to 15 years down the road."

Saxton said this issue has been a topic of discussion for close to a decade. As to reasons behind the need to close Market, some of it may have to do with lower enrollment numbers.

According to data Saxton gathered, in 2015 there were 4,308 students in the district. That number dropped to 4,180 in 2016 and to 4,11 in 2017. The 2018 school year saw a very small increase to 4,131 before dropping to 4,039 in the current year. Saxton agreed that the decline is happened throughout the Mahoning Valley, not just in Boardman.

Projected enrollment for 2020 is under the 4,000 mark at 3,924. The decline is expected to continue each year ending up at 3,862 in 2024.

As for what will be gained from closing Market, the district would expect to see a $500,000 savings each year while having no loss of programs, and the benefit of having an expanded music program for the fourth graders.

"While most may believe cost savings is the driving force behind the recommendation--cost savings is not the only benefit, nor the greatest benefit," said Saxton. "Ultimately, we believe this move will help us provide greater educational services in a more efficient manner."

Prior to Monday's meeting, the board held a public meeting so parents could air their concerns. Two of the biggest concerns was why it could not be delayed for one year and whether the fourth graders in BCIS would experience the events they would have had at the elementary schools. Those events included the clap outs at the end of the school year as they left the elementary for the intermediate school.

As for personnel, Barone said the closing of Market Street would not result in significant job loss. Teachers would be reassigned to other buildings and a small number of non-teaching positions may be affected.

Also on the plus side for the move is transportation. The goal is to eliminate shuttles so there is less time on the buses for fourth through eighth graders.

Prior to Monday's meeting Boardman Township submitted a letter to the district asking to have the Market Street property donated to the ABC Water District to use in flood control.

With the unanimous vote to approve the closing, the board set 5 p.m. on Feb. 19 for a work session to continue with the next step of looking at what to do with the property. Saxton added the district is under State and Federal guidelines on how to dispose of property.



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