Sweet Home proposes closing elementary school - The Buffalo News

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Sweet Home proposes closing elementary school

The Sweet Home Central School District is recommending that Heritage Heights Elementary School be closed.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in the Norman Vergils Community Room at the high school, 1901 Sweet Home Road.

Parents in the district Friday received a letter from Superintendent Anthony J. Day informing them of the hearing.

He cited declining enrollment in kindergarten through fifth grade as the reason for closing the school. Elementary enrollment has decreased from 1,625 students in 2003 to the current 1,396.

The district’s four elementary schools, which had average student populations of 415 a decade ago, now have an average of 350 students. Two years ago, in the face of declining enrollment and a potential fiscal crisis, the School Board created a reconfiguration task force to study possible ways to cut expenses, which included the possibility of closing a school.

The task force told the board it preferred to maintain the current elementary structure and only close a school if fiscal conditions warranted it.

Day said he had predicted that long-term economic conditions would force the issue in the near future and that a school closing was likely to come.

Last weekend, the board began examining its 2014-15 budget, elementary enrollment and the long-term viability of maintaining the four elementary schools.

Day said the way the district is operating likely would lead to regular annual budget gaps, requiring program and staff reductions if an elementary school is not eliminated.

Heritage Heights is located at 2545 Sweet Home Road.

email: krobinson@buffnews.com

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