Boardman proposes closure of Market Street Elementary
By Jessica Hardin
The school board is considering closing Market Street Elementary at the end of this school year, according to a district news release.
The proposed closure is part of a district realignment plan. It is expected to save the district $500,000 each year.
Per the plan, Boardman’s three elementary schools – Robinwood Lane, Stadium Drive and West Boulevard – would become K-3 buildings to accommodate the incoming Market Street students. All fourth-graders would move to Center Intermediate School on Market Street, making Center a 4- to 6-grade building.
Board president Jeff Barone said Thursday the proposal comes after a decline in the number of students in the district.
Superintendent Tim Saxton added this recommendation was also about getting ahead of the curve.
“One thing we learned in our levy campaign [in spring 2018] is that levies are reactionary. People said, ‘In the future, can you be proactive?’ This is an opportunity to save money and get better services,’” Saxton said.
The plan allows the district to budget and plan for future expenditures, Barone added.
“If you’ve ever been in Center, you know it is a very old building. In reality, at some point, we’re going to have to replace the building down the road. ... We don’t want to have to [ask taxpayers for more money],” Barone said.
Saxton said he plans to redistribute Market Street teachers, but there may be a reduction in classified staff, such as janitors.
The district is conducting a survey through the Ohio School Boards Association to determine a cost-effective distribution of Market Street students.
With transportation changes, Saxton said, “The cost will probably be even, but we hope to reduce the amount of time spent on buses.”
Saxton does not predict that class sizes will increase. Rather, the realignment will allow the district to balance class numbers among the three elementary schools, he said.
“Cost was the primary reason we investigated [the closure], but I can tell you that now that we put the plan on paper, the benefits are more academic,” Saxton said.
Once the building has been vacated, it will be put up for sale.
“We’re not working on a five-year budget. We’re looking 10 years out,” Barone said.
An informational meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Boardman High School cafeteria. Formal action is expected to take place at the Jan. 28 board meeting.