The Thompson School District, which serves Loveland, CO., and surrounding area, will not close schools in the coming year because of a vote by the Thompson School Board, 6-1.
Van Buren Elementary and Stansberry Elementary, which were identified as possible closures, will not be shuttered in the coming school year. However, the possibility of closure remains for the next two years as the board considers details regarding cost savings if closures were implemented and how closures would impact the rest of the district. The delay was not well received by parents and residents of the district alike.
For several years the Thompson School District has been using money in a reserve account for operating expenses. Based on current projections the reserve balance will be depleted in two years. In order to ensure a reserve balance is maintained the district has undertaken cost reductions which include the consideration of school closures.
Critics of the financial practice have repeatedly suggested than administrative overhead, including the salaries paid to the superintendent’s office, be dramatically reduced or eliminated entirely.
Members of the school board have suggested changes to district boundaries, changes to transportation requirements for students, consolidations of schools, closures of schools, while planning for projected growth in the district.
School board member Jeff Swanty has repeatedly noted that presently the district has schools within the district that have availability of more than twenty percent, and others have low enrollment or relatively small classes, contradicting the proposal of school closure.
According to Gordon Jones, the chief financial officer for the district, closing one school in the district could result in a saving annually of at least five hundred thousand dollars. Closing two schools could save more than a million dollars a year, against a deserved reduction in costs of five million per year in order to preserve the existence of the reserve fund.