ROCHELLE — In the end it was of little fanfare when the Rochelle Elementary School Board voted unanimously to close May School.
Superintendent Jason Harper reminded the board that in February he made a recommendation to close the building due to declining student enrollment in the district. Current projections put May School at half capacity next school year with that trending downward going forward.
Harper added that the district will continue to maintain the property.
In March, the school board hosted a parent/community meeting to answer any questions of concerns.
“My recommendation remains the same as it did a few months ago,” Harper said.
It’s an interesting situation as the property legally could go back to the developer’s family if it’s not used by the school district. That clause was put into place when the subdivision was developed roughly 60 years ago. Harper said they are working with the May family to figure out the details and the district continues to appreciate its longstanding relationship with the May Family.
Along with the closing of May School and the declining enrollment, the board voted to adopt an attendance center model for the district. This also was discussed at the March public meeting.
In other business, the board approved a cash rent agreement of $230 for the 14 tillable farm land surrounding Lincoln School. Harper explained that Gensler Farms has been farming the acreage since the district purchased the land. The terms of the agreement have remained the same for the past three years.
The board voted to raise kindergarten registration fee from $58.50 to $60 for the upcoming school year. This fee includes the cost of milk.
The budget will go on public display shortly, with a few amendments. Harper explained that last fall the district didn’t know what the revenues and expenditures would be, so they’ve since “tightened up” the final budget prior to its approval.
The end of the school year is approaching, Harper informed the board that the last day students will be in the classroom will be May 26, which is a Wednesday. On May 27, the teachers will utilize their last remote learning planning day. They were given a total of five of these days from the state and they’ll use the time to pack up their rooms as some teachers will be switching buildings and classrooms. Then May 28 will be a teachers’ institute day.
Just before adjourning, Harper informed the board that there has been really good interest in summer school and they’ll be serving more students than ever.