Parents worried Sumner may close

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Will Sumner Elementary School close or will it stay open next year?

This was the question concerned parents asked of Austin School Board members at Monday's meeting.

Sandy Erdahl, a member of the Sumner PTC, told the school board she's heard so many rumors that it is, she's beginning to believe they aren't speculation.

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Major projects at Sumner are on hold as are kitchen renovations and "teacher morale is down … they aren't planning for the future," she said.

"We want to know what the long-term vision of the school is … why are there so many rumors floating around?" Erdahl asked. "Communication is a key issue. The public has a right to know if the school is being closed."

School Board president David Simonson told her "realistically, changes occurred in the budget. We're looking at less money next year and are trying to decide what to do, but there is no plan to close it that I know of."

"We do need to do some strategic planning," with the finances the school district receives from the state, school board member Bev Nordby said. "We need to plan with the community and the parents. We would not close a school without discussing it with the community first."

Nordby also said "there are a lot of rumors out there and if you want to know if they're true, you need to pick up the phone and call the right people, … the people with the facts."

In other school board news:

n The board approved an amended budget for the 2001-2002 school year. Director of business services Lori Volz explained the amended budget was needed because when the board adopted the initial budget for the current year, the legislature had not figured out the formulas for calculating the budget.

"The amended budget reflects those new formulas and has been adjusted for a 100-student drop in enrollment," Volz explained.

n Superintendent Corrine Johnson reported student enrollment for March dropped one person from February. In February, the district had 4,053 students and in March, the number was 4,052. Enrollment projections for the school year predicted the district would have 4,053 students at this time of the year.

Call Amanda L. Rohde at 434-2214 or e-mail her at