Meade County to close two elementary schools
BRANDENBURG, Ky. (WDRB) -- Elementary schools in Battletown and Muldraugh, Ky., will close at the end of the year.
The Meade County school board approved the closings Tuesday night, the result of more than two months' study and debate to save money.
Students at Battletown will attend classes at Payneville, the primary school at Brandenburg or Wilson Elementary at Brandenburg. Muldraugh students will shift to Flaherty for the next school year, according to tentative plans discussed Tuesday.
The district has lost $1 million in state funding in the last two years, superintendent Mitch Crump said. The loss in funding, combined with declining enrollments over ten years at each school, made keeping them open just too expensive, Crump and school board president John Inman said.
Meade County schools continue to grow overall in enrollment, with about 5,000 students districtwide. But enrollments at the two schools has dropped to 89 at Battletown and 91 at Muldraugh, making it too costly to continue -- and making them some of the state's smallest schools, Crump said.
"The cost per pupil is astronomical compared with the district average," Crump said.
"We have continued to grow 15 percent in the district, but (enrollment) has declined at Battletown and Muldraugh 22 percent."
The school board placed paper agendas on all the cafeteria tables at Pepper Middle School in case crowds of parents attended, as they did the last several meetings. But only a handful attended.
After more than two months of talking and public hearings, perhaps parents already suspected the outcome of the board's vote.
"We were very pleased with the size of the school and the student-to-teacher ratio and all of the individual attention. So we are going to miss all of that," said Battletown parent Tammy Carpenter.
"We'll still get good teachers, but we will miss the family atmosphere."
Another parent from Battletown dreads the change for her two sons, one of whom is classified as "special needs."
"I don't know the kids that are going to be in your classroom. I don't know your principal. I just pretty much have to tell them, well, have to start all over again, and nothing is going to be familiar," said Melissa Deibert.
She questioned whether the school board had considered all options to save money. Board members said they believed closing the two schools was better than cutting services.
It was not clear whether any teachers or staff would lose their jobs.
"Until the state of Kentucky wakes up and provides us more revenue, this is what we're faced with every year," Inman said.
Parents should receive letters explaining the changes starting Wednesday, Crump said.
Copyright 2012 WDRB News. All rights reserved.