Pattonville Officials Could Shut Down Briar Crest Elementary
The Pattonville School District has lost student enrollment because of airport expansion. Because of that, and other reasons, administrators are looking to close Briar Crest Elementary.
Economic challenges facing the Pattonville School District could force school officials to close Briar Crest Elementary after this school year.
The district made that announcement Friday on its website.
The proposal is being made due to prolonged economic challenges facing the Pattonville School District and extra capacity available in the district's other elementary schools," the release said. "Under the proposal, most of the Briar Crest attendance area will be absorbed by Drummond Elementary, with a smaller portion going to Bridgeway Elementary. This change will require moving some of the current Drummond attendance areas to Bridgeway and Parkwood elementary schools."
School board officials will review the proposal at its Sept. 25 meeting and vote on the measure at its Oct. 9 meeting.
Bottom line, for school administrators is Briar Crest is too small.
From the release:
Briar Crest is a small neighborhood elementary with slightly more than 200 students enrolled. For many years, Pattonville has been able to support schools with small enrollments, but the realities of the economic downturn have made this impossible to continue. Pattonville’s had no increase in revenue since 2007 due to declining property values, reductions in state funding and continued tax appeals by large commercial property owners. During the last six years, expenses in the operating budget have grown less than 1 percent on average per year due to extensive cost-cutting measures Pattonville took during that time frame. Pattonville's planning and cost-cutting efforts have enabled the district to weather the economic storm for nearly six years, but the current economic downturn is enduring much longer than anticipated. Maintaining Pattonville's current budget will be impossible without increased revenues, further cuts or both. Pattonville just finished $3 million in budget reductions and is in the planning stages to address an additional $4 to $5 million shortfall in the operating budget in the next several years. If Pattonville does not take action now to further cut its operating budget, its reserves will be depleted by the end of the 2016-2017 school year. Pattonville estimates it will save $700,000 annually when Briar Crest closes through reduced staffing needs, utilities, maintenance items and services/contractual areas.
For more on the closure, read Pattonville's release to parents.