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First school closure study session, public hearing is Feb. 7

February 4th, 2013 at Mon, 4th, 2013 at 4:12 pm by Kipp Robertson

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The North Kitsap School Board will take a look at the first of three schools on the school closure list Feb. 7 during a study session.

The meeting, open to the public, will allow the board to discuss Gordon Elementary as an option for closure. The meeting begins at 5:15 p.m. in the board room in the district office, 18360 Caldart Ave. NE, Poulsbo.

Gordon received the second-highest number of votes (71) for closure during the School Closure Committee’s final meeting.

The other schools on the list are Breidablik (74 votes) and Wolfle (42 votes).

In the first 45 minutes of the meeting, the board will discuss the possibility of closing Gordon. Then, from 6-7 p.m., the board will hold a public hearing, where anyone may address the board.

No action will be taken during this meeting, according to the district’s website.
A study session on closing Breidablik will be Feb. 14. The last session, to discuss closing Wolfle, will be Feb. 20.

The board is expected to make its closure decision during its Feb. 28 meeting.

As a reminder, Poulsbo Elementary was taken off the list of closure options earlier in the school year. Although Pearson and Vinland received more votes for closure, there are ramifications to closing either school, including:

— Pearson borders Central Kitsap School District, which means there is a greater chance the district will lose more students if it closes Pearson as parents opt out of attending NKSD. The district already has decreasing enrollment, which is causing budget cuts.

— Vinland is next to the largest area of Poulsbo currently being residentially developed. Liberty Hill is expecting 71 homes on 16 acres. The development is on Urdahl Road, less than one mile from Vinland. Poulsbo Elementary, too, has a large number of new homes being developed nearby. Poulsbo Elementary could not absorb on its own the projected amount of students (145.35) that could live in these homes.

Of course, the above are just examples.

There may be more reasons not to close a school. This is why the board is allowing residents to show up and have their voices heard. Maybe someone out there in the community has an idea that could completely reverse the board’s thinking on school closure.

Judging by the community forums Superintendent Patty Page has held throughout the school year, and the number of people attending school board meetings recently, these public hearings will be packed.

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