Elk Trail Elementary On the Edge of Closing

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, March 13 2012 at 6:29 PM, Updated: Wed, March 14 2012 at 1:22 AM

A 75-year-old school is close to a shutdown and some residents aren't too happy about it.

One of them, three-year-old Riley Copeland said she couldn't wait to start school at Elk Trail Elementary next year.

"I love it," she said.

But her three-year-old dreams could be dashed. The district is now looking at locking the doors to save money.

School District Trying to Bridge the Budget Gap

"The state economy, the money that has been coming to us has been going down the last 3-5 years," said Michael Remick, HR Director for the Eagle Point School District.

Officials said the district faces a $1.5 million gap, plus a more than $500,000 shortfall from declining enrollment.

"This is a decision that hasn't come lightly," Remick said.

What Closing Elk Trail Will Mean

It's expected the school board will vote to merge Elk Trail, a K-3 school with Shady Cove, a school with 4th-5th graders.

"It makes a lot of sense to merge them...most traditional school are K-5," said Remick

District officials said there are fewer than 100 students at Elk Trail Elementary, and 2/3 of them actually live in Shady Cove and Eagle Point.

According to Remick, the district will save money from having to bus kids up to Elk Trail. He said, in some cases, students would have a shorter bus ride if the schools merge. 

If the district closes Elk Trail Elementary's doors for good, they'll save more than $200,000 every year.

Much of that money, coming from staff reductions, building utilities and maintenance. As for Elk Trail teachers, they'll keep their jobs and transfer to the Shady Cove School.

However, for residents, it's not about the money; it's the memories

Money Saved, Future Memories Lost

"Everybody that lives around here goes to the Elk Trail School, so the majority of every body's got good memories," said Tiaira Atkins, three-year-old Riley's aunt.

"My grandma was the cook so i'd get seconds, thirds on lunch...It's just a really good family school," added Fred Webster who used to be a student at Elk Trail.

It's a family school residents say they'll miss. The small community, hoping the board saves their school.

Have an Opinion?

According to district officials, the final decision on whether or not to close Elk Trail is coming after two years of deliberation.

The Eagle Point School Board meeting is open to the public. It starts 6:30 Wednesday evening at the district office located on 11 North Royal Avenue in Eagle Point.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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