The North Kitsap School District could have, should have, made a decision regarding a school closure in time for the 2012-13 school year.
The district has all the figures it needs to make a decision. What the district has simply done is prolonged the pain and postponed the inevitable. More than eight months have passed since the school board voted to close a school because of reduced state funding and declining enrollment. A School Closure Committee — comprised of 25 district residents and school parents, teachers and principals, as well as eight district administrators — has met eight times since August to study and determine which school to close. There have been three public forums to update residents during the process.
The committee was to pare down its list of closure candidates Dec. 4, but the voting process was complicated and voting was flawed. The committee meets Jan. 15 to vote anew on a pared down list of candidates for closure, to be recommended to the school board for consideration. The school board is not bound by the committee’s recommendations and will make the final decision.
The committee members have been dedicated and sincere in their service. And each school has a dedicated group of parents, students and teachers; the connection between school and neighborhood is often deep. But the public knows the facts: Declining enrollment and revenues require that a school be closed. A school closure will save the district about $300,000 to $400,000 each year.
The sooner the board makes a decision, the sooner parents, students and teachers can prepare for the transition. And better prepared the district will be to make those savings and plan for the future.