G-E building discussion becoming central

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 11, 2002

While Glenville-Emmons is considering a referendum, there is another issue that the district may have to deal with: maintaining three schools with declining enrollment.

Superintendent Todd Chessmore said maintaining three buildings in a district Glenville-Emmons’ size is not easy. &uot;It has to be one of the topics talked about in the future if our enrollment keeps decreasing,&uot; he said.

The projected student decrease over the next three school years will take enrollment from 476 to 440. In the 1999-2000 school year, 521 students were enrolled in the district.

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The drop in students has many concerned parents running for school board this year. Seven candidates will vie for three seats in the general election.

Steve Heideman is running for reelection on the board. He said he knows that closing a school is probably something that the district will have to do in the future.

Another candidate, newcomer Karen Hansen, said she thinks a building will have to go. &uot;I’m concerned about how grades have been shifted to different buildings,&uot; she said. &uot;I think that the number of students we have today doesn’t warrant having three buildings.&uot;

Hansen said she thinks the Emmons junior high school, which houses grades four through eight, should be closed and those grades should be put into the Glenville elementary and high schools. &uot;Glenville is geographically and demographically in the center of this district,&uot; she said.

Chessmore said he has not thought about which school they would consider closing, because he doesn’t think it is a pressing issue.

&uot;It is not being considered at this point in time, not that it may not be in the future,&uot; Chessmore said. &uot;If the referendum doesn’t pass, it would be among many variables that have to be looked at and considered. But it is only one of many many things we might look at.&uot;

Glenville-Emmons will ask voters to consider a levy referendum in November to provide operating funds for the district.

To help make decisions on cutting costs, the district has set up a steering committee made up of a diverse group of citizens from the area, said Chessmore. The committee will look at demographics, enrollment facilities, finances and many other factors in the district. It will try to &uot;look at every possible way to enhance education,&uot; he said.

Chessmore said he is hopeful that through economic growth, in Albert Lea and the surrounding area, that enrollment will grow. He said development would help and could increase open enrollment as well as the in-district numbers, so building issue may never even come into play.