2017-12-31 / Insight

LakeVille District restructure decision expected soon

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE

OTISVILLE – Over the course of the past year, the LakeVille School Board, administrators, educators and parents have come face-to-face with the inevitability of school closings as part of an upcoming district restructuring, but after several community outreach meetings throughout the district that brought each group together to discuss the reality of restructuring, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Currently, LakeVille Community Schools (LCS) operates three elementary schools - Otisville Elementary, Columbiaville Elementary and Otter Lake Elementary. Each of the three buildings are among those being considered for closure.

The topic of district restructuring came to the fore following a commissioned Plante Moran Cresa facility usage report. As per the report, it was found that LakeVille Community Schools facilities currently operate at a building usage capacity of 67 percent — the state’s recommendation is in the range of 85-95 percent. According to the community outreach presentations held in the fall, restructuring could save the district $90,000 to $125,000 annually and provide an improved instructional model, as well as more efficient staffing, transportation and communication.

The LakeVille Board of Education will deliberate on the restructuring in January and will be asked to base their decision on several factors beyond current capacity, including each facility’s age, impact to current boundaries, cost of future improvement, operating costs, impact to LCS programs and projected enrollment.

“We have to look at projected enrollment, and I’m happy to say that enrollment projections have plateaued,” said LCS superintendent Mike Lytle during a community outreach presentation in October. “The future of LakeVille looks to be stabilizing.”

The district’s enrollment last year was 1,212 students. Based on building utilization and projected enrollment, the district currently has capacity for 1,882 students (a difference of 670 students). Columbiaville is the largest elementary facility by classroom count with a total of 17 general education classrooms and a building capacity of 364 students. Current headcounts place the number of students at around 230.

The LakeVille Board of Education is expected to announce a decision regarding district restructuring in February, and the changes will go into effect for the 2018-19 school year.

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