Marion W. Savage and Sioux Trail elementary schools, along with Metcalf Middle School, will close next year as part of District 191’s work to align its facilities to current enrollment. Members of the Board of Education approved each recommended closing at their meeting Dec. 12.
The closings will make the district more efficient, saving an estimated $2 million in costs each year, along with allowing for more consistent class sizes at the elementary level and a more robust middle school model. Students will be served by the district’s eight other elementary schools and two other middle schools.
“I know these changes are about more than bricks and mortar. They are about history, memories, emotion & relationships, too,” Superintendent Battle said. “I also believe that we will come out of this stronger and in a better position to serve our students, and that gives me hope and excitement about the future of One91.”
The decision concludes a months-long process that started with a comprehensive facilities study in the spring of 2019 and included community engagement throughout the fall.
Board members and administrators noted that they hope these closures are temporary. The district does not plan on selling any of the three school buildings.
District staff will now focus on ensuring the district will be prepared to serve all students next fall, Superintendent Battle said.
“Regardless of what school students attend, they will have teachers and staff who care for them,” Battle said, “and that each school will work hard to build community with families.”
One of the first actions to prepare for next school year will be adjusting attendance boundaries. Attendance boundaries define which students attend each school.
A Design Team of employees and community members has already begun meeting to manage the process, with a goal of having new attendance boundaries adopted in February. The Design Team will be responsible for analyzing data, including where current students live, student demographics, potential future development that might affect enrollment, transportation concerns and more, and developing options. Those options will be presented to the community for feedback in January (dates to be announced soon) before bringing a recommendation to the Board.
“As we go through the process to determine the new attendance boundaries,” said Director of Business Services Lisa Rider, “we’ll be focused on ensuring the process is transparent, that we have input from families and others who will be affected, and that the outcome helps us deliver on our mission of ensuring each student is future ready and community strong.”
Despite significant changes in District 191’s population and enrollment, the district hasn’t changed its attendance boundaries since Harriet Bishop Elementary School and Eagle Ridge Middle School opened in 1996.
Learn more about facilities realignment in District 191, including answers to commonly asked questions, at www.isd191.org/facilities.