MOWEAQUA — The Central A&M Board of Education is set to vote Dec. 11 on whether to close Bond Elementary School, citing high maintenance costs and a steep drop in enrollment across the district.
In a letter posted on the Community Unit 21 district website, board members and Superintendent DeAnn Heck said Bond Elementary students could be moved to a renovated Central A&M Middle School. Both buildings are located in Assumption.
“In recent years it has become increasingly clear that operating four aging school buildings is not sustainable for Central A&M,” the board wrote.
Under the plan, the elementary school would close in summer 2019. Bus routes would remain the same, and the number of students at two Moweaqua buildings — Gregory Intermediate and Central A&M High School — would not change.
Board members cited several factors in considering the decision:
- A 40 percent drop in district enrollment over the past 20 years, which also means less state funding;
- Estimates that Bond Elementary needs $1.7 million in asbestos abatement, security, life safety and other state-mandated improvements;
- The roughly $300,000 operating cost of the school;
- Availability of extra space in the middle school, which could also house district offices.
“We understand that a school is much more than bricks and mortar; a school is defined by its students, teachers, staff and the communities it serves,” the board said.
The board plans to hold two informational meetings for the public to ask questions and make comments. They are set for 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, and 7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, both at the library of the middle school, 404 Colegrove St.
The Central A&M School District has 780 students between preschool and 12th grade, according to its website. Its facilities include:
- Bond Elementary in Assumption, which has preschool through second grade;
- Gregory Intermediate in Moweaqua, third to fifth grades;
- Middle School in Assumption, sixth to eighth grades;
- High School in Moweaqua, ninth to 12th grades.
District officials could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.