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Woodstock School District 200 Board to consider closing Dean Street Elementary

Talks of closure have been ongoing for more than a year

Woodstock School District 200 Board President Carl Gilmore (left) and Superintendent Mike Moan listen during a recent board meeting. The board will meet Tuesday to discuss and potentially take action on the possible closure or restructuring of Dean Street Elementary School.
Woodstock School District 200 Board President Carl Gilmore (left) and Superintendent Mike Moan listen during a recent board meeting. The board will meet Tuesday to discuss and potentially take action on the possible closure or restructuring of Dean Street Elementary School.

WOODSTOCK – The Woodstock School District 200 Board will meet Tuesday to discuss and potentially take action on the possible closure or restructuring of Dean Street Elementary School.

The item is listed on the meeting’s agenda as a discussion matter, but at the board’s Feb. 13 meeting, President Carl Gilmore requested that a vote be taken Tuesday.

“At [Tuesday’s] meeting, the board may consider a motion regarding the Dean Street school facility closure if a motion is requested by a board member,” the discussion item in the board’s packet reads. “If no motion is considered at the time, administration will not recommend any further board discussion or action unless directed.”

Talk of potential closure began at the committee level in 2016, when the Facilities Review Committee formed with an aim to cut costs and better use empty space in the district. The group’s final recommendations included ending a lease, vacating and selling the Judd Street administrative building and closing Dean Street Elementary. So far, the board has ended the lease and put the office building on the market.

Dean Street Elementary, 600 Dean St., is one of District 200’s six elementary schools and has an enrollment of about 330 students. Teachers and parents of Dean Street Elementary students have protested the potential closure at previous meetings, public hearings and community forums.

A side discussion is ongoing about repurposing Dean Street Elementary to host Clay Academy students. The elementary school students would go to one of the district’s five other elementary schools, and Clay Academy students would move to the Dean Street facility. Clay Academy, 112 Grove St., serves special needs students in District 200, but also has 66 students who pay tuition, according to district documents.

Clay Academy costs $1.9 million to operate, but those operating costs are offset by more than $2 million in tuition revenue. It costs District 200 about $124,025 to operate Clay, according to district documents.

That plan would save the district $604,345 a year, with $530,128 coming from the elimination of Dean Street Elementary’s principal, secretary, nurse and custodian. An additional $83,700 would come from eliminating annual utilities, supplies and repairs at the Clay Academy building, according to district documents.

If the changes are approved and the district’s levy is reduced by $600,000, a homeowner with a $200,000 house could expect to see a $45 reduction from the district’s portion of their property tax bill, according to district documents.

The board will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Woodstock High School, 501 W. South St., in the learning resource center.

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