GCCS approves plan that would combine 2 schools, build new location in downtown Jeffersonville

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- The Greater Clark County School Board voted Wednesday night to pursue a plan that would combine two Jeffersonville elementary schools.

After the 6-1 vote, the city and school board will now work together to find a site and determine the costs of building a new school in downtown Jeffersonville. That would mean Maple and Spring Hill Elementary School students will transition to the new school as early as the 2019-20 school year.

Six people spoke in opposition of the plan Wednesday night, saying it alienates the district's urban neighborhoods.  

"Giving them a state-of-the-art building for $15 million is not going to help them, in my opinion," Alice Butler said. "They need to be in their neighborhood schools with their community. Where parents can walk to school. Where the kids can walk to school. That's what's important."

Details of the plan, like where the new school would be located, are still unclear. However, district leaders said they hope it will be somewhere in between Maple and Spring Hill and that staff from both schools could follow students to their new school.

The district said maintaining both elementary schools cost too much, given low enrollments of about 200 students each, and that a new school would serve everyone better.

"It's what's right. It's what's fair to them," GCCS Superintendent Andrew Melin said. "We'll make sure that any inconveniences that may cause, we are considerate of all those things. So if they need activities, buses after school, to get them back home, we're ready to do whatever it takes to make the transition as smooth as possible."

The plan will automatically move forward, unless those who oppose it can come up with 500 signatures.

If they cannot get enough support to build a new downtown elementary school by the spring of 2018, Maple students will move to Bridgepointe Elementary and Spring Hill students will move to Northaven Elementary by the 2018-19 school year.

The district said the plan is expected to be finalized in January.

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