MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On Thursday night, a south metro school district voted to close three schools because of declining enrollment and underutilized buildings.
The Burnsville-Savage-Eagan School District will close Metcalf Middle School, Marion W. Savage Elementary School and Sioux Trail Elementary School at the end of the school year. The votes were unanimous for the first two schools, but the third passed with a 6-1 vote.
This impacts approximately 1,225 students in the district who will need to find new schools to go to come June.
“I do not relish bringing this recommendation to you. It’s not what I want to be doing as an educator or an educational leader,” said superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle before the vote.
The district is currently dealing with a $5.5-million deficit. A newly-passed referendum will help generate $1.6 million.
One parent we spoke with says her daughter has been devastated over the prospect of having to move.
“She’s just distressed that she won’t be with her friends anymore. We’ve had hard talks as a family about what we are going to do next year,” parent Barbara Feely said.
The closure of the schools is estimated to save the district $2 million every year.
These schools were selected based on the age and capacity of the school buildings.
A third party consultant found these were underutilized and fell below state guidelines when it came to enrollment versus space and operating costs.
As for the more than 1,200 students this impacts, they will have the option to request a variance to attend another school in the district. That system hasn’t been established yet as the new attendance boundaries have not been decided on.