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Janesville School Board seeks public feedback on school-closure plan

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
September 3, 2011
— A public hearing about the possible closing of a Janesville public school is scheduled for 5 p.m. Tuesday, the district announced Friday afternoon.

The school board earlier directed a committee of district residents to study the potential for closing Harrison, Jefferson or Kennedy elementary schools, starting one year from now. The Boundary Lines Committee voted Aug. 25 to recommend that none of the district’s 12 elementary schools be closed.


Committee members said at the time that the potential savings—estimated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and perhaps up to $1 million—were not enough to justify the disruption to hundreds of students and their families.


“I’m not so sure the full board would have the same opinion (as the committee), so I wanted to make sure the citizens of the community would have the opportunity to weigh in,” said school board member Greg Ardrey.


Ardrey, who is chairman of the Boundary Lines Committee, noted the board had planned for public hearings during September, although dates had not been announced previously.


The board steered away from next Thursday because of the Packers game, Ardrey said.


Two more public hearings will be scheduled Sept. 15 and Sept. 22, Ardrey said.


“That’s what we had planned regardless of what the committee recommended. At least, that’s what I planned,” Ardrey said.


If the board decides to close a school, the decision likely will come at the board’s regular meeting scheduled Sept. 27, Ardrey said.


Ardrey also is chairman of the board’s buildings and grounds committee, which meets immediately after Tuesday’s hearing.


The committee also will take up the school-closing question Tuesday and could make its recommendation to the board.


Also on the buildings and grounds committee agenda are:


--“Discussion of probable revision to Board Policy 3320,” which is the policy governing the use of fund balance, the district reserve that some board members want to use to fill a budget deficit. The policy allows a small percentage of fund balance to be used for this purpose. Changing the policy could allow a larger amount to be used.


--Discussion of the date for the annual hearing on the district’s budget for 2011-12.


--A closed session for “discussion and possible action regarding potential uses and/or revenue opportunities for various properties that the School District of Janesville owns.”


One of those properties likely is the Educational Services Center. The city has expressed interest in buying it for a new fire station.


If you go

What: Public hearing on the possibility of closing a Janesville elementary school next year


When: 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6.


Where: Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St., Janesville.


Also: The school board’s Finance/Buildings and Grounds Committee will consider the same question at its meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the same location.



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