Weigh In: Survey of County School Facilities
The Board of Education wants community input as it makes plans for facility use and management.
School Superintendent Steve Guthrie sent a message to parents last week asking them to complete a facility survey to help the school system decide how to utilize school space in upcoming years with declining student enrollment and budget constraints.
Guthrie said in his message: Due to declining revenues, Carroll County Public Schools has been forced to reduce its operating expenses by $20 million over the past five years. Other than continuing to reduce staff, the school system has exhausted most areas of reduction in its operating budget. Therefore it is time to look at facilities to ensure that all school space is being used in the best possible manner. Accordingly, Carroll County Public Schools will be conducting a comprehensive facility study over the next several months.
There has been a lot of public discussion about declining student enrollment throughout the school system, Guthrie said.
This past budgeting session, there was serious discussion of closing Charles Carroll Elementary School as the school is in need of major renovations. The school survived one more year but the school board decided to revisit the decision again next year.
Carroll County Commissioners Richard Rothschild and Robin Bartlett-Frazier commented throughout the budgeting session that the school system, with declining student population, should explore closing schools.
The county currently operates 23 elementary schools, nine middle schools and eight high schools. Serving more than 27,000 students, Carroll County is the ninth largest school system in the state.
According to Guthrie, initial input will be collected from the public through the survey. Public hearings on any recommended options will be held later in the process.
The survey will be available through June 15, 2012.
Results of the survey and other information will be made public as the study progresses. In addition, another community survey seeking input on specific proposals and recommendations will be conducted in late September or early October. The entire study will be completed by December 31, 2012.