Superintendent presents costs of running 2 elementary schools to community

(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT)

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - The Cedar Ridge School District superintendent has presented the community with the cost of running the district's two elementary schools and what the changes would be if one were to close.

With declining enrollment, the future of the Cord-Charlotte Elementary has been brought up before, and now teachers have told the superintendent they would rather know sooner rather than later if that is going to happen.

The school board has not suggested any action concerning the school right now, they just requested that Superintendent Andy Ashley compile the information for them so they could know exactly where the district stands.

"They just wanted to be able to look at it objectively," Ashley said. "They hear lots of things and see lots of things but until they could actually put some numbers to it and actually look at it with an objective lens they didn't feel like that they could make any kind of decision. So, that's what they kind of charged me with."

According to Ashley, it costs $2,146,380 to run Newark Elementary for one year with its 293 students.

Meanwhile, it costs $1,588,899 to run the school at Charlotte with 55 students.

Those numbers show that it costs the district several thousand more dollars per student each year to run Cord-Charlotte Elementary.

"If you've got a class of 25 at Newark with a teacher and you've got a class at Charlotte with eight with a teacher, you know when you divide those teacher salaries amongst the kids then it costs more per kid to educate those because there's so fewer," Ashley said.

Ashley said even if Cord-Charlotte Elementary were to close and all 55 students chose to go to another school district, which is unlikely, Cedar Ridge would save $481,979 per year after losing the state money for those students.

No teachers would lose their jobs if the school closed.

"If that were to take place, all of those employees would have a job here at Newark," Ashley said.

A parent at the meeting Monday night asked what the facility at Charlotte would be used for if the school closed, but Ashley said they have not gotten that far in planning yet since the board has not suggested the closure.

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