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Lakeland school district propose to close two elementary schools

LAGRANGE, Ind.-- Fewer students equals fewer dollars for school districts. Now cuts are coming to the Lakeland School Corporation in LaGrange county.

The school district is home to 3 elementary schools, but now that number’s going down to 1 for the next school year and teachers are speaking out.

“We’re at the point where, as I've been trying to explain to people that money coming in isn’t equaling money going out," said Lakeland School's Superintendent, Dr. Eva Merkel.

With less than 50 percent enrollment at both Wolcott Mills and Lima-Brighton elementary schools in the corporation, the school district is left with tough decisions like figuring out which administrators and teachers are on the chopping block.

“We’re cutting from eight building administrators to six. So they have to know by March 1st whether they have a contract renewal or not. According to teacher reduction enforce law, between May 1st and July 1st is when teachers are notified. “

Meaning those administrators and teachers who draw the short stick are going to be working through the remainder of the school year knowing they won’t be back the following school year.

Those most at risk are newer teachers, like Spanish teacher Luis Crotte who left a California school corporation for this very reason.

“I come from Oakland California, and in Oakland , the rate of students are dropping like flies. However, I did not expect that to happen at this scale. We need to have a different take on how to retain people in the community to create a space for students and schools," said Crotte.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is biomedical science teacher, Sherri Severson, with over 30 years as a teacher in Lakeland schools—she says although unfortunate, the change is necessary.

"All I can say is that it’s something that a change has got to be made somewhere. I’d like to think that the people we have in place are going to make the best decisions for us. We have each other, and that’s really bottom line in a school. We’re here for the kids. Teacher’s really have to focus on what they can control and that’s be the best they can be in the classroom," said Severson.

The final decision will be made on February 18th. 


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