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An elementary school consolidation committee is recommending that Meadows Elementary be closed at the end of the 2021-22 school year and  repurposed for other programs.

The recommendation will be presented and discussed when the Vigo County School Board meets for a combined business meeting/work session at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Terre Haute South Vigo High School, said Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications.

The administration also will present a proposal to repurpose Meadows as a VCSC Learning Lab, which will be outlined during the work session.

No action will be taken Wednesday on the school closing/repurposing, and the public will have at least two opportunities to comment at future board meetings, Riley said. The public will not have an opportunity to comment on the school closing proposal on Wednesday, as it will be part of the work session which is for board discussion only.

The district has already closed and repurposed two elementary schools, West Vigo and Deming. A strategic plan adopted in January 2020 called for two elementary schools to be closed at the end of the 2020-21 school year and a third to be closed at the end of the 2021-22 school year.

The elementary closings are part of VCSC efforts to reduce operating costs and bring the number of schools in line with enrollment, which has been declining over many years. "It's really about rightsizing to make sure the number of elementary schools we have fits our current population and our demographic study trends well into the future," Riley said.

The strategic plan called for the district to consolidate 18 elementary schools into 15.

In recommending Meadows, the committee took into account enrollment; age and condition of the building; and the ability to move students to neighboring schools "in a fashion that worked best for families," Riley said. Meadows has fewer than 200 students this year.

Meadows students would be redistricted to Davis Park, DeVaney, Franklin and Lost Creek elementary schools, Riley said.

The school is aware of the recommendation and a staff meeting has taken place, he said.

It is not anticipated that any Meadows employees will have to be laid off, he said. "We are still looking at reducing staff through retirements and resignations only," Riley said. "We believe there will be no need to lay off [Meadows] staff."

Christi Fenton, VCSC executive director of elementary education, will make the presentation on the recommendation and rationale. Karen Goeller, VCSC deputy superintendent, will provide information on the proposed Learning Lab.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Rob Haworth will provide an update on high school facility proposals, including data collected during recent community meetings and through online platforms.

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