Area school district considering closing high school pool - WNEM TV 5

Area school district considering closing high school pool

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Photo by James Felton Photo by James Felton
OGEMAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

Time may be running out for the Ogemaw Heights High School swimming pool. Dan Cwayna is superintendent for the West Branch-Rose City area school district.

He says there is no doubt about it - money is tight.

"Right now, our fund balance is at zero. We're looking at some pretty severe cuts," Cwayna said.

He's looking to cut about a million dollars from the district's $19 million operating budget. But some Ogemaw County residents want the pool to stay open.

So why does Cwayna want it on the chopping block?

"The closing of the pool is one of many suggestions or proposals that are being considered right now. We had three budget hearings last winter. We invited the public to come in and give us some ideas on where to make some cuts. Closing of the pool came up at least three or four times," Cwayna said.

Cwayna tells WNEM.com that the pool has been open for 40 years and it's just not cost-effective to keep it open any longer.

"We've been putting bandaids on that pool for years. And it would cost over a quarter of a million dollars to get that pool up to speed where it needs to be," Cwayna said.

The pool could close in April after the end of the boys swim season. If the facility shuts down, Falcon swimmers would have to swim for another school next year. And groups like the Special Olympics and area swim clubs would be left high and dry.

"This has not been easy. Any time you cut services to community, cut services to students, it's not a pleasant experience. But right now we have to step up to the plate and make these tough decisions," Cwayna said.

School board members could make a decision on whether or not to close to pool by January.

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