Washington Elementary Study

A Message from Superintendent Jerry Riibe

This fall the Muscatine Community Schools had a substantial decrease in enrollment of over 170 students.  This will correspond to about $1.5 million loss in next year’s state aid. The good news is we have gained unspent budget authority the last few years to help during times of financial downturn. In addition, we will have one year to use a budget guarantee to provide time to adjust.  I am confident that we will be able to maintain our programs, meet our students’ needs, and continue to improve as a system.

However, the reality of the situation does bring immediacy to the issue that has been under the surface for some time. I believe it is time to seriously consider reducing the number of elementary attendance centers from eight to seven. I have begun a study to examine the logistics of closing Washington Elementary. The reasons for Washington include several factors. The physical condition of the building (i.e. HVAC, windows, mortar work) will require substantial commitment of district resources. The enrollment trend for Washington has declined to under 280 students. Washington Elementary also has three schools (McKinley, Franklin, and Jefferson) within reasonable proximity to relocate students.

The plan is to study the logistical possibility of closing Washington at the end of the 2015-16 school year. I know this causes concern and worries. While change brings anxiety, it is important to keep in mind this is about insuring the long-term health of the district.  I do not take lightly the impact this decision will have on the Washington community. I will do my best to help the district make a decision that is in the best interest of our students and our community.

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