Anaconda School Board weighs options before decision on possible closure


ANACONDA, Mont. - Shrinking enrollment numbers may force the Anaconda School District to close one of its two elementary schools. Here's a break down of what has happened: The Anaconda School District formed a Consolidation Committee, called the Buildings and Grounds Subcommittee. They have been collecting data to find the best way to balance a budget with enrollment numbers shrinking to just over 1,000 students across four schools. We spoke with the Anaconda Superintendent about possible options, like closing Lincoln Elementary and moving middle school students to the high school. The idea has generated a lot of discussion in the community. One post on a community Facebook page drew more than 150 comments from concerned residents and parents. Anaconda resident Katie Nadeau is a mother of three. She has kids in the junior high and elementary schools. "Honest if it happens, we'll look to move out of the area," said Nadeau. Nadeau told us the news Anaconda is considering closing or consolidatingschools blindsided her. "We should be able to contact members of the school board and know what is going on with every single one," said Nadeau. One issue in particular -- the potential for bullying if junior high students and high school students end up in the same building. "They might as well make the motto over at the high school if they move the junior high over, 'may the odds be in your favor,'" said Nadeau. The situation is new but it has already sparked new comment, one Facebook post even drawing more than 150 comments. "The two board members that did comment were all over the board," said Nadeau. "And it seems like what they said and what I've heard from other board members. It's like they don't even communicate." Board of Trustees member Lisa Petritz also serves on the Buildings and Grounds committee. Petritz said she was surprised to hear that either idea was being talked about and that absolutely nothing has been finalized. "We are still weighing the options and we're still working towards finding an answer that not only works with the school district, but the kids in the community," said Petritz. Petritz told us one teacher on the committee has submitted six different options, but she is going to wait until after the next PTSA meeting to decide what options to submit. "And I'm going to go so the parents can tell me how they want me to present this," said Petritz. "I want their input." Nadeau is also urging people to come to the next few meetings. "Make sure you come, make sure you voice," said Nadeau. "I may not have the best proposal, but one of you may." A number of meetings are planned where a school closing or consolidation could come up. The next PTSA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at W K Dwyer Elementary at 6 p.m.