Southland to consider Rose Creek closing at Monday meeting

Published 3:55 pm Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Southland School Board is expected to approve closing its Rose Creek-based elementary school during its regular meeting Monday in Adams.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the media conference room.

Students would be brought to the Adams site, making it a preschool-12th grade facility.

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The move, administrators say, will save over $510,000, she said, with reductions in administration and support staff ($308,770), contracted staff ($120,000), transportation ($12,000) and operating costs ($70,000). It was estimated that another $1.6 million in deferred maintenance would be saved. Students would be brought into the Adams building, in classrooms created with space that is part of the current media center.

Declining enrollment has left the school with fewer operational funds.

If no changes are made, the district would be in deficit spending in the next school year, which would compound each year if nothing changed. By 2021-22, the district is projected to be almost $500,000 in decline and would enter statutory operating debt. That would trigger state financial control of the district which could result in cuts made by the state, or dissolution of the district.

Superintendent of Schools Jeff Sampson said Friday that he did not expect the board to make a decision on when to hold a referendum on Monday. A $24.5 million proposal in 2017. Board Chairwoman Michelle Nelsen said at a March 15 public meeting that another building referendum — which would remodel some of the Adams site — could be posed as early as this fall.

A $24.5 million referendum failed in 2017, which would have upgraded the Adams facility, closed the Rose Creek school, and had all students on one site.

Another referendum is anticipated for fall, said Nelsen. Details of a plan have yet to be finalized or approved.