CASD to Permanently Close Middle and Two Elementary Schools
CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield school board took another step toward the consolidation of its students into two buildings at Monday night’s regular meeting.
The board voted, 8-1, to permanently close the Clearfield Area Middle School and both the Bradford Township and Centre Elementary Schools. The closure is currently effective June 16, 2014. The board has already permanently closed the Girard-Goshen Elementary School.
Board members Dave Glass, Mary Anne Jackson, Dr. Michael Spencer, Larry Putt, Susan Mikesell, Rick Schickling, Tim Morgan and Jennifer Wallace voted in favor of closing the middle school and the two elementary schools. Board member Phil Carr cast the lone opposing vote.
Prior to the vote, Morgan asked if there would be any chance of the district needing to alter the date of the school closures beyond that stated in the resolution. Superintendent Dr. Thomas B. Otto said the district’s effective date coincided with the timeframe that the district could submit school closures to the state’s Department of Education, as well as the process for beginning the next academic year.
Solicitor Aimee Willett said the PDE only accepts reconfiguration submissions from districts. She said the board would be reconfiguring its district up through the middle of August of 2014. After that, she said the PDE would have to re-adjust for the middle of June to the middle of August of the following year.
Glass said the district should know by spring of 2014 if the proposed CES expansion is on target. Willett said it’s possible the PDE could grant the district an exception; however, she said the PDE directs districts not to submit reconfigurations before June 15 or after Aug. 15.
Willett said the district had the option of changing the date to later in the PDE timeframe. Otto said the school closures didn’t have to be effective June, 16, 2014. He said that date only represented the first opportunity for the district to move forward with the school closures.
Schickling said they had until August of 2014 to submit reconfiguration changes, and they should know by the July meeting that year. Glass said they should know as early as April or May if they’re behind and whether or not to submit a date change with the PDE.
The board is embarking on an expansion at the Clearfield Elementary School, which will convert it into a K-6 campus. The board is limiting the maximum CES total project costs to $10,669,360 and its new construction only costs to $8,008,000.
So far as the CES expansion project, the board is weighing two options. Option 1 would include a two-wing expansion and a kitchen addition at the CES. Option 2 is similar with a “reduced scope” that eliminates the kitchen addition, which significantly reduces its costs.
Otto has previously estimated the district will experience a personnel savings of $951,153 and a utility and maintenance savings of $454,462 by consolidating into the CES. He said this will potentially result in a total annual savings of $1,405,615, according to previous GantDaily.com reports.
On Oct. 8, 2012, the board held a 780 hearing to consider the closing of the middle school and the two elementary schools. By law, it must wait 90 days after the hearing before it can decide upon closing a school building.
The Clearfield High School expansion and the CES expansion, if approved, are expected to be completed for the 2014-15 academic year.