Rebecca Barton, the president of the Buffalo Elementary school parent-teacher organization, told the school board Monday that any discussions of closing Buffalo should be held in public.
Barton said plans to move Buffalo students to Lincoln Elementary were not a rumor, but were posted on the school district’s website, then abruptly removed recently after parents began sharing concerns on facebook.
Barton said closure of Buffalo school is a legitimate concern, despite what Supt. Ron Hanson said in the North Platte Telegraph.
Top school officials have been studying way to make better use of school buildings, primarily to deal with less state aid and increasing costs. Closing Buffalo after the coming school year is an option.
More immediate closures are also on the table, including selling Hall School and demolishing The Learning Center modular building on the Madison school grounds. (See those reports elsewhere on this website.)
Barton, who cited verifiable materials from the school district’s website, said closure of Buffalo requires open, honest discussion. She said many students walk to and from the school, and Lincoln is a long ways away (2 miles), across four lanes of Rodeo Road.
School Board President Mike Morrell told Barton that Buffalo school will definitely remain open next year.
Morrell said there are always discussions within the district about operating more efficiently.
Randy Stubbs also addressed the board. Stubbs is a Maxwell resident but grew up on the north side of North Platte. He is a candidate for county commissioner for District 2, which includes the north side of town.
Stubbs said it would be wrong to only have one school on the north side, which would happen if Buffalo were to close.
Stubbs said the location of Buffalo school is important to future development of North Platte and he urged the school board to look at the underlying situation — the loss of option enrollment students to such schools as Maxwell, where 200 North Platte students attend classes.