Clover Valley closure process continues

Parents will have a final chance to comment on whether Clover Valley Elementary should be closed.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the school district’s Administration Building, 350 S. Oak Harbor St.

This official public hearing follows an informal meeting held last month in which parents were told the school’s fate is pretty much settled.

In addition, a committee tasked with adjusting school boundaries recently recommended that Clover Valley be closed at the end of this school year, said David Peterson, assistant superintendent for the school district.

The administration targeted Clover Valley for closure because it has the smallest student population of the six elementary schools and the highest number of students who are bused.

Closing the school would save the school district an estimated $546,000. That would help close a $3.5 million budget shortfall officials are predicting for the 2007-2008 school year.

Still, three options are technically in play: Keep the school open, close the school in 2008, or close the school at the end of this school year.

Peterson said the idea to delay Clover Valley’s closure by one year came about to give the school board more options to consider. Should the closure be delayed, then the school would operate with smaller enrollment since many parents would likely transfer their children to other schools.

The Oak Harbor School Board is expected to receive a formal recommendation about Clover Valley’s future during its Feb. 26 meeting. A final decision on the closure won’t be made until April.

The boundary committee doesn’t meet again until March. By that time, the recommendation will be known and the committee can work on adjusting boundaries based on either five or six elementary schools.

“We need to wait for direction from the board before we can start our work on reviewing boundary lines,” Peterson said.

Prior to the Feb. 20 meeting, the school board will meet to review schematic designs for the Oak Harbor High School renovation.