October 30, 2014

Superintendent says closing Sterling Elementary is not a viable option at this time

Closing of pool to be discussed further

By James Kuch
News Editor | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH — Superintendent Michael Dodge said he does not want to see the district close Sterling Elementary School or the Standish-Sterling High School pool.

Dodge made the comments during a Standish-Sterling Community Schools special meeting held Monday, May 16.

Dodge addressed the potential closing of Sterling Elementary School during the meeting and said closing of the school is not a “viable option” at this time.

“(Sterling Elementary) is too dear to the community right now,” he said.

Dodge said if things do not change for the district, the school could close in the future.

“Next year, the year after, if things keep going the way they are, closing the school needs to be discussed,” he said. “I don’t think it is on the block right now.”

Dodge said consolidation of the district’s elementary schools would be an option the district will have to consider sometime in the future.

The topic of the closing of the high school pool was also discussed at the meeting. Dodge said he would have a hard time closing the pool because the community helped build it.

“It is just something I think we should hold off on,” he said.

Estimations given to the board suggest that if the pool were closed, it would save the district between $7,000 and $10,000 per month.

The board voted 6-1 to keep the pool open until the board’s next special meeting on May 31.

Board member Ronald Bartlett asked the board to take action and vote on closing the pool until August 1.

“We have been talking about doing this since the beginning of April,” he said. “We have been holding off and asked for participation from anyone in the community to help keep it open, and nobody has.”

Board member Gary Egan disagreed with Bartlett, adding that he has received letters from community members asking to keep the pool open.

Dr. Leonard LeClair, board president, said he did not want to rush into a decision “just to take action.”

“I have a problem, in regard to these cuts, about making a statement or nickel and dime cuts that are going to effect a large population community, or a large number of kids, just to make someone’s agenda happy.”

Athletic Director Ben Welmers said the pool is used during the summer for community education.

“There are swimming classes scheduled,” he said. “In July, students begin to use the pool to train for the upcoming swimming season.”

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