Elementary school shutdown possible in district

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 ASSUMPTION, Ill. (WAND) – A central Illinois school district says it may end up closing one of its schools.

Central A&M Community Unit District No. 21 says its Board of Education will vote in December on a recommendation to shut down Bond Elementary School. District leaders say operating Bond at the same time as other aging buildings is “not sustainable”.

The district says Bond Elementary’s needed repairs are becoming expensive. Asbestos cleanup, security needs, life safety improvements and other infrastructure changes will cost Central A&M $1.7 million. In addition, the district has to pay $300,000 every year to operate the school.

Central A&M says attendance at Bond has dropped by 40 percent in the last two decades.

If the board votes in favor of closing the school, it says it plans to renovate Central A&M Middle School to create room for Bond Elementary students and teachers. The district office would also move to that location in an effort to make the best use of “limited resources” in the district, with everyone changing locations in the summer of 2019. Central A&M says it’s concerned about potential property tax jumps in making these decisions.

The board believes it can make the change without disrupting the community, as bus routes and attendance in Assumption and Moweaqua would stay the same. People who want to voice concerns about the possible closure can come to one of two informational meetings. They will be held on Sunday, Dec. 3 from 2-3 p.m. and from 7-8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4.

The vote on Bond Elementary School is scheduled for Dec. 11.

“We understand that many members of our community and Central A&M alumni have strong emotional connections to a school building,” the Central A&M district said in a statement. “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. We welcome and appreciate your input as we chart a path forward that best serves our students and our communities.”

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