School district assembling team to consider building closures

SWARTZ CREEK – School leaders are currently assembling a team to study district facilities and recommend cost-cutting measures that could include the closure of an elementary school, which also would affect families in Flint Township who live in the Swartz Creek school district.

The committee of 10 to 12 people representing a cross section of the community will meet semi-monthly beginning in mid-September.

School board Vice President Brian Sepanak and Trustee Michael Ahearne will co-chair the committee.

The committee will look at demographics, enrollment patterns and facilities costs, conditions and usage, said Superintendent Dr. Jeff Hall.

Committee meetings will be open to the public and updates will be presented during Board of Education meetings through December, when the committee will recommend a course of action.

The school board expects to vote on the recommendation in March, said board President Carrie Germain.

“It’s going to be a lot of work in a short period of time,” said Germain.

The study comes in the wake of several consecutive budget deficits largely due to declining enrollment and revenue and increased costs.

Trends in population shifts and birth rates indicate the district will have 3,500 students by 2020. There were 4,260 students in the 2005-06 school year. This year, district officials estimate the student population at 3,880.

A $327,000 deficit in the 2016-17 budget forced school officials to dip into the district’s reserves again, reducing the fund to about $1.4 million, down from $6 million in 2008.

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