Silver Springs may combine schools |

Silver Springs may combine schools

Teri Vance

Pointing to a sharp decline in enrollment in the area, the Lyon County School District is recommending that the Silver Stage elementary and middle schools be combined into one.

“We’re really just answering to our taxpayers because the decline out there has been absolutely incredible,” said Superintendent Caroline McIntosh. “We have limited resources, and we have to be responsible with those dollars.”

This year, about 945 students attend the elementary, middle and high schools in the Silver Springs area. That’s a 26 percent decrease from 2007.

According to Associate Superintendent Keith Savage, attendance projections predict that enrollment will drop to 909 by next year.

District staff will present a plan tonight for approval by school board trustees to consolidate the middle and elementary schools, which are next to one another and are adjacent to the high school. The schools are centrally located between Silver Springs and Stagecoach.

According to the plan, kindergarten through second grade would remain in what is known as Building A of the elementary school, leaving Buildings B and C vacant.

Grades three through five would move to the middle school, and be housed in one wing while the sixth- through eighth-graders would be in the other wing.

Instead of changing classes throughout the day as is traditionally done, the middle-schoolers would remain in one class. Teachers from the high school would come over daily to teach courses in algebra, Spanish and art.

“It’s a model that will bring more opportunity of our seventh- and eighth-graders,” McIntosh said.

According to the plan, Building C of the elementary school would be used for district training and could be opened up for community uses, such as the Silver Springs Transportation Department, Healthy Communities Coalition and the Boys & Girls Club.

Building B would be shuttered for the time being.

In addition to saving operating costs, the plan would also eliminate duplication in staffing. The plan calls for $631,000 in staff cuts, which include two custodians, 1.5 secretaries, one nurse aide, one librarian, 2.5 teachers, one counselor and one administrator.

“We’ve been watching the data closely,” McIntosh said. “I think this is a very sensible plan.”

The idea, first presented last year with the proposal to combine the middle and high schools, was met with opposition from parents who didn’t want their younger students mingling with high-schoolers.

This plan, McIntosh said, was designed by the administrators of the three schools.

“We let them come up with the plan because they know the students and their needs,” she said. “They really did a wonderful job.”

If you go

WHAT: Lyon County School Board meeting

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today

WHERE: Silver Stage High School