The Robbinsdale School District has enough extra classroom space to consider closing up to three schools, according to district consultants.
The findings, presented to the school board Saturday, don't necessarily mean three schools will be closed. But consultants Wold Architects and Engineers and demographer Hazel Reinhardt told board members that cutting down on excess space could allow the district to close two elementary schools and one middle school. In part, the extra space is because of lower-than-expected student enrollment.
Initially, the district had planned on saving $800,000, equivalent to closing one elementary school, despite getting voters to approve a levy request last November that gives the district $9.4 million a year over the next seven years.
Board Chairwoman Patsy Green said she was surprised the district had the space available to get by with three fewer schools. "In the past, the most we've looked at is one to two school closings," she said.
Consultants will present cost-saving scenarios to the board next month, said district spokesman Jeff Dehler. Green said she wants to hear those before making any decisions on closing more than one school.
The board considered closing a school last year after coming up short in a 2007 referendum effort, but decided to make other cuts instead.
Public meetings next month will gather input on the cost-cutting scenarios, and the board has tentatively set Jan. 20 as the date when it will decide which and how many schools to close, Dehler said.
The consultants will present their findings at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at Plymouth Middle School, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, at Robbinsdale Middle School.
Norman Draper • 612-673-4547