Beecher school district plans to consolidate to 1 campus - WNEM TV 5

Beecher school district plans to consolidate to 1 campus

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BEECHER, MI (WNEM) -

A local school district is planning to consolidate to a single campus in an effort to chip away at a growing budget deficit.

Beecher schools has seen a big drop in student enrollment in recent years. The goal is to reduce costs while placing more focus on the students and their education.

The high school currently sits across the street from the elementary school. Next year the district wants to add students from the middle school to the element.

The possibility of change has parents fired up because they said they don't want their young students mixed in with older students. Parents said the elementary school currently has enough problems and bringing in more kids is a recipe for disaster.

"I think it's a bad idea. I believe that the little kids deserve the chance to be little kids in their own space and the big kids should be able to graduate into another area and be able to do that without the little kids being around and it should be separate," said Jeneyah McDonald, parent.

Superintendent Josha Talison said the plan may not be as parents think. He said a lot of parents think all the children from kindergarten through eighth grade will be in one building, but that's not the case.

Talison said one campus means two buildings.

"We really want to articulate that campus is the Neff Road Campus. That's where you have two schools on the same campus for convenience for parents. We didn't want to have one school over here and one school off Summit Street because if I'm a parent, I have to drop students off at two different locations. So if I do that I might as well try to see if I can find somewhere that I could put everyone in one building," Talison said.

Kindergarten through seventh grade would be in the elementary school building and eighth grade through 12th grade would be in the high school building.

Staff layoffs could be in the near future as well as part of the Beecher schools five year debt elimination plan.

"It concerns me if they don't have adequate staff. That's my concern," said Shayna Terry, parent.

The superintendent said they have to be diligent in fixing the deficit because the state's Department of Treasury is watching their moves as they work to get out of it.

"This is not a fire sale. This is not a bonfire. We're not giving up. We're not closing the doors. People are still in charge that are focused on the betterment of our students," Talison said.

Talison said the focus needs to right the ship while trying to attract students to come to Beecher. He said about 30 percent of the students in the district limits go elsewhere.

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