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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Decision on school closure pending

  • The Leavenworth School Board will need to decide fairly quickly whether to close West Intermediate School at the end of the school year, the board president said.
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    • Providing feedback:
      The Leavenworth school district is inviting public input about a proposal for closing West Intermediate School. Comments can be sent by email to contactu...
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      Providing feedback:
      The Leavenworth school district is inviting public input about a proposal for closing West Intermediate School. Comments can be sent by email to contactus@usd453.org.
      Information about the school closing proposal can be found on the district's website, www.usd453.org.
  • The Leavenworth School Board will need to decide fairly quickly whether to close West Intermediate School at the end of the school year, the board president said.
    "We have to start getting things in place," president Nancy Klemp said.
    Klemp said she anticipates board members will vote on the issue when they meet Wednesday night.
    School officials discussed the idea with the board during a special meeting earlier this week.
    The idea was proposed as a way to help reach a target of cutting $1.1 million from the school district's 2014-15 budget.
    West Intermediate School houses classrooms for fifth- and sixth-graders. Under the proposal for closing the school, fifth-grade classes would be moved to the district's four elementary schools. Sixth-grade classes would be moved to Richard Warren Middle School.
    The issue comes at the same time the board is searching for a new superintendent.
    Kelly Crane resigned as superintendent in December. Bret Church was named interim superintendent.
    If the board decides to close West Intermediate School, much of the work associated with that decision likely would occur before a new superintendent is in place, Klemp said.
    The new superintendent likely wouldn't join the district until summer.
    If West is closed, one of the problems a new superintendent might face is what to do with the intermediate building.
    "I think we would leave it for one year," Klemp said.
    She said this would allow school officials a chance to see how the transition works.
    In addition to the option of selling the property, Klemp said there would be an opportunity to move district programs into the West building.
    "There's an opportunity to move all kinds of things around," she said.
    The school district has posted information about the proposed closure of West Intermediate School on its website, usd453.org. The public can offer feedback by sending emails to contactus@usd453.org.
    Mary Gould, a parent of a West Intermediate student, said she received an email from the school district regarding the proposal.
    Gould, a member of West's Parents Involved in Education organization, said it makes sense to move fifth-grade classes to the elementary level. But, she also has concerns about the proposal.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Logistically, it definitely has a lot of challenges," she said.
    She expressed concern about whether there would be adequate room at the other schools to accommodate the students from West.
    The possible closure of West and finding a new superintendent aren't the only challenges facing the School Board, Klemp said.
    She noted the district also is going through the dissolution of the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative.
    "This is a very transitional year," Klemp said.
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