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Holland to close elementary school; District won't use building for offices

The Holland School District will close H.O. Brumstead Elementary School instead of keeping it open for district and business offices as previously planned, Superintendent Dennis Johnson said Monday.

About a dozen residents heard the new information Monday. Johnson said that the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, which rents about nine rooms from the district, had indicated it will rent more space at Parkdale Elementary School in East Aurora. The facility is more centrally located and has additional space allowing it the flexibility to grow if needed, he said.

The move will mean the loss of about $54,000 in annual classroom rental fees thatBOCES paid Holland. Johnson said the district had budgeted $42,000 in anticipated fees from BOCES for 2012-13 and that the loss was more than offset by a late boost in state aid of $48,000.

Universal prekindergarten, kindergarten and grades one through four are slated to move to the Middle School on Route 16 in the fall as part of the district's plans to reconfigure the district's student population among two buildings instead of three. Before BOCES had dropped out of Holland, the district anticipated using the elementary school for the district, business and special-education offices.

"Two and a quarter buildings was the plan, but withBOCES' reduced need for classrooms, the elementary school will be completely shut down. We'll still heat it and inspect it once a week, but it will be mothballed," Johnson said.

One resident asked if the district was going to shutter the building or try to lease it. Johnson said that he had not contacted anyone about selling or leasing the facility but that he would be certain any future lease agreement would have an option that would allow the district to return to the building should student enrollment rise.

The superintendent also said that even if the School Board expresses a desire to sell the building, voters would have the final say in a referendum.

Under sometimes heated resistance from residents, the district has undertaken the reconfiguration as a response to financial woes and decreasing enrollment, about 200 students in the past five years.