Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — WILSON –– There are four cost-cutting options Wilson Board of Education members are thinking about, but one was the biggest topic of conversation Tuesday night.
Residents chimed in on elementary school consolidation, particularly the possible closure of W.H. Stevenson Elementary. The Ransomville-based building is one of two kindergarten through fifth grade Wilson schools.
Board members wanted a meeting Tuesday night to talk about four options for reducing costs. The other three options include consolidating the middle and high schools, cutting extra-curriculars and eliminating non-mandated programs.
But it was the elementary schools that came up the most. Jim Carroll, a Ransomville resident, said children love attending Stevenson. And Ransomville would suffer if the school closed.
“It would have a big impact on the hamlet,” he said.
“You’re taking away the identity of the children,” said Joe Fleckenstein, a Porter town councilman.
Business Administrator John Montesanti said the options were enrollment driven, in which Wilson will see a drop. The middle school will see an increase, but the district as a whole will drop from 1,254 in 2013-14 to 1,091 in 2017-18.
Board President Timothy Kropp said nothing has been decided.
Cutting all extra-curriculars would save $482,000, while the non-mandated programs would net $1 million to $1.2 million in savings. That would include cutting or reducing full-day kindergarten, art or music classes and any non-mandated courses.
Kropp said board members would receive information at its October work session meeting on how one elementary school would be laid out if Wilson closed the other building. That meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Stevenson, located on Ransomville Road.
The board does have a regular meeting slated for Oct. 9 at Thomas Marks, but no discussion is expected on any of the options presented Tuesday night, Kropp said.