Tuesday night Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Wendy Robinson recommended they close Elmhurst High and Pleasant Center Elementary to help make dramatic cuts to their budget.
Bill Monroe lives right behind Elmhurst High School. Four children and one grandchild graduated from Elmhurst. He says if it closes, it's a loss to the whole neighborhood. Monroe says It's basically what holds our neighborhood together and more or less gives us our identity as opposed to being over there by the gravel pit.
For him, the possible closure is more than sentimental. Monroe says It could devastate our neighborhood and drop all of our property values."
The district says the two schools are fairly small and would be the easiest to close. Fort Wayne Community doesn't want to close schools, but says they don't have many options. Krista Stockman with Fort Wayne Community Schools says In December, the Governor cut out $300 million from education funding. We have to make cuts when that's the case. If the money isn't there, we have to make reductions.
Fort Wayne Community has to cut $15 million from the general budget. So far, $9 million in cuts are accounted for. $6 million of that are teacher cuts. If the district goes through with the recommendation to close Elmhurst and Pleasant Center, it will eliminate another $2 million. That puts the district at $11 million, leaving them $4 million short.
The School Board will vote on school closings March 22. Between now and then, three public hearings will be held on the issue.
Meeting Dates and Locations:
Elmhurst Information Meeting 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, at Elmhurst, 3829 Sand Point Road
Pleasant Center Information Meeting 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 16, at Pleasant Center, 2323 W.
Pleasant Center Road
Public Forum on Budget Reductions 6 p.m. Thursday, March 18, at the Grile Administrative
Center, 1200 S. Clinton St.