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Superintendent Bearden: Wait a couple of years to decide on closing schools

Fayette County School Superintendent Jeff Bearden wants to wait more than a year before even talking about closing any schools because of falling student numbers.

Bearden at the Oct. 17 meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education reiterated his call

for the recent consideration of closing two elementary schools and one middle school to offset falling revenues linked to enrollment be removed from consideration for a couple of years.

Enrollment is directly tied to state funding by which each student generates approximately $4,000 in revenue. If the current decrease in enrollment from last year is not recouped quickly the school system by next year will receive approximately $3 million less in state funding.

That would further exacerbate the situation for a school system that is already faced with cutting millions out of the existing budget in order to have a state-required balanced budget beginning in July 2012.

Closing schools would undoubtedly be very unpopular with many parents. And postponing the decision to close schools for a couple of years would, coincidentally, not make those closures an issue in the 2012 school board races in which three sitting board members would be up for re-election.

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