Closure of elementary school part of proposed plans by Northmont schools amid declining enrollment

ENGLEWOOD — Proposed changes, including the closure of an elementary school, are part of a proposed plan in the Northmont City School district aimed at addressing declining enrollment.

The plan was presented by during the school board meeting Monday night. Additionally, parents were notified last week in a letter from the school district outlining proposed changes for the 2023-24 school year and how it will impact the district moving forward.

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In the letter the district cited financial stability and the ability to “provide our students an exceptional education” as the reason for the proposed changes.

Over the past eight years, the district has seen a decline in 361 students, averaging around 77 students in a declining year, according to data shared by the district.

Northmont City Schools operates five building housing grades 2-6. One only of those buildings, Northmoor Elementary, is running at capacity, according to documentation published on the website of the district. Of the other four buildings, two, Englewood Elementary and Englewood Hills, have the lowest student enrollment.

Two ideas were presented to combat the district’s challenges with declining enrollment. One proposal was to combine Englewood Elementary and Englewood Hills, where one building would house grades 2-3, and the other would house grades 4-6.

The other idea presented was to close Englewood Elementary which would allow the district to save $1 million each year.

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In addition to the cost-saving measures, students would have access to Title 1. Englewood Elementary does not qualify for Title I federal funding, nor does it provide reading intervention, according to the district documentation obtained by News Center 7. Students attending Union Elementary and Englewood Hills benefit from Title I and reading intervention programs.

As the school districts face low enrollment in each building, it decreases the district’s ability to maximize state funding, according to district leaders. If the individual building does not have a minimum of 350 students, the district is unable to fully benefit from the Ohio Schools Facility Commission building funds.

Englewood Elementary and Englewood Hills are below the minimum amount of student enrollment, according to the district.

If the board of education votes to accept the proposal to close Englewood Elementary, Englewood Hills will have an average classroom size for the 2023-2024 school year of 24 students. Union Elementary would see an average classroom size of 25 students. This average calculated by the district includes the addition of Englewood Elementary students.

The district has planned a special board meeting February 13 at 6:00 p.m. at Kleptz Early Learning Center, for public comment on the proposals. The board will meet again on February 16 to vote on the proposed changes.