The Lake Shore Central School Board voted unanimously Tuesday to close two of the district's five elementary schools because of declining enrollment and a looming economic crisis.
Brant School will close this fall and W.T. Hoag School in Angola the following year.
"It is important to note that this proposed consolidation plan has not been taken lightly, and the subsequent recommendation is the result of focused conversation," Superintendent Jeffrey R. Rabey said in a statement that he read to the board.
"As we are well aware, over the last several years the Lake Shore Central School District has experienced a significant decline in enrollment. In fact, since 2001, the district has lost approximately 556 students, and more recently, since 2005 the district has lost an estimated 4 percent of enrollment at the elementary level," Rabey added.
Within its five elementary schools, the district currently has 90 instructional classrooms, but enough students to fill only 60.
The 102 students from Brant will be distributed between A.J. Schmidt and J.T. Waugh schools, and the Brant building will be put up for sale. In 2011, students from Hoag will be reassigned to other school buildings.
"Essentially, the majority of the enrollment at W.T. Hoag Elementary School will be sent to W.T. Waugh Elementary School and the balance sent to the A.J. Schmidt Elementary building; however, there will be a need to redistrict all the elementary attendance zones in order to establish equitable distribution of students throughout the remaining elementary buildings," Rabey said.
The district will retain the Hoag building, which will continue to house the universal prekindergarten program, Rabey said. The district plans to keep Native American students who attend Brant together and continue offering them Seneca language and culture in their new school.
Closing both Brant and W.T. Hoag is expected to save the district about $900,000 over the two-year period, Rabey said.
The economic crisis plaguing the state played a major part in school officials' decision to close the schools. Lake Shore officials estimate that the district could lose as much as $2 million in state aid.