Twin Beach Elementary and Maple Elementary schools will be closing their doors for good after the 2011-12 school year, following last week’s unanimous vote of the Walled Lake Consolidated School District Board of Education to close the two buildings.
“The board did not make this decision lightly; they considered, carefully, the student, staff, and community ramifications and made sure that we are maintaining the requisite attention to the needs of our children while being fiscally responsible,” said Superintendent Kenneth Gutman. “We have intentionally advocated that this decision be made now so we can plan for the redistricting and then the appropriate transition activities.”
According to the district, the goal is to establish new school attendance boundaries before the end of February so as to have enough time to prepare for the 2012-13 school year.
The building closures were recommended by the auditing firm of Plante Moran after it performed a facility utilization study this past year.
Plante Moran also recommended closing down the district’s Community Education Center and the Twin Sun Facility. However, the school board opted to only close the two elementary schools for now.
According to Plante Moran’s findings, the elementary schools are at 83 percent capacity with their current total enrollment of 6,618. The current enrollment capacity is 7,884.
Over the next five years, enrollment is projected to drop to 5,999 elementary school students. This would lower the enrollment to 76 percent of building capacity, with most of the schools being under-utilized.
After collecting and analyzing the instructional, operational, and enrollment information for each building, Plante Moran created an evaluation matrix that included building functions, conditions, and operational costs, while also analyzing information gathered from public online surveys, community meetings, and an advisory committee before coming up with recommendations.
According to these recommendations, closing Maple would provide the district an annual savings of $350,000 in operational costs, while shuttering Twin Beach would save $305,000 in operational costs each year.
All updated facility presentations can be found at www.wlcsd.org.
“It is our intention to place the needs of our students first as we proceed with building closures and with the necessary redistricting of our elementary schools, but we will also place a heavy emphasis on meeting the needs of our staff, parents, and community,” Gutman said.