The Herald Bulletin

March 10, 2010

Elwood school board to weigh budget cuts

By Dave Stafford, Herald Bulletin Staff Writer

ANDERSON­ — Elwood Community Schools will take a hard look at tough choices and where the school district is headed at a school board meeting tonight. Among the options: closing one of the district’s two elementary schools or a middle school.

The board has approved a series of budget reductions but also must find additional cuts to bridge a budget gap of $2.5 million. Superintendent Tom Austin said Elwood schools face financial difficulties “not any fundamentally different than the challenges facing school districts statewide.”

The board is considering six options that would realign grade levels in the schools, and some of the options entail closing either Edgewood or Oakland elementary schools or Elwood Middle School. The board also is considering teacher layoffs, eliminating some sports teams, reducing paid coaching positions and other cost-saving measures.

Proposed cost reductions are posted on the school corporation’s Web site, www.elwood.k12.in.us.

“I think we’re probably one to two weeks away from the board voting on any one of the six options,” Austin said. Another board meeting will take place on March 18, he said.

While the possibility of school closings exists, Austin said it’s a near-certainty that the school corporation’s office at 1306 N. Anderson St. will be closed.

“That’s definitely going to happen,” he said. “I don’t know exactly where we’re going to end up, but that is a given. This office will be closing and we will be relocating.”

Austin said the relocation of the administrative office is expected to be finalized by July 1.

Consultants hired to write a long-term planning study will present their findings at tonight’s board meeting, Austin said.

“It will serve as a road map for things the district ought to be doing from this point forward,” he said.

Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, dave.stafford@heraldbulletin.com