The future of three schools in District 191 in the south metro could be decided when the school board meets Thursday night.
Three schools were recommended for closure during a Nov. 14 school board meeting: Sioux Trail Elementary in Burnsville, Marion W. Savage Elementary in Savage, and Metcalf Middle School in Burnsville.
If the closures are approved, all three schools would cease operations at the end of the current school year.
“Realigning our facilities to match our enrollment is an important part of our plan to better serve our students and put the district on more solid financial ground,” said Superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle, in a news release on the district's website.
"While I believe closing schools is necessary, I know that families affected by this recommendation will feel many emotions. Schools are not just bricks and mortar. There are memories and emotions and entire childhoods connected to our schools.”
According to the release, the closures were recommended by a third-party consultant who began studying the district's situation last spring and has since collected six weeks of public feedback.
Key criteria for recommending closures were the age of each building, the capacity, and enrollment, along with how likely closing a school would result in students enrolling in a different district.
Marion W. Savage and Sioux Trail are two of the three oldest elementary schools in the district, and the risk of losing students is believed to be low. Metcalf is the district's oldest middle school and has the lowest enrollment (approximately 600 students).
WCCO reports that the district's enrollment has dropped 15 percent since the 2009-10 school year, and a drop of 8.8 percent more is expected over the next five years.
Superintendent Battle added that the district will ensure students are "future ready" and ensuring each student is future ready and that the "community strong" approach will go unchanged.