Otwell Elementary School To Close After 2015-16 School Year (VIDEO)

OTWELL (WTVW/WEHT) – Pike County Superintendent Suzanne Blake says the school corporation has been using rainy day funds to cover general fund expenses since 2007.She says it ranges from about $1.5 to $2 million to what was allowed that year. Now, the school corporation will close the elementary school in Otwell.

“I think it deserves to stay open because all my friends are at that school and there are so many good teachers,” said Kayleigh Byrd.
It’s a school near and dear to some Otwell residents hearts.

But after this next school year, Otwell Elementary School’s doors will be closed.

“I thought it was bullcrap. Rather they not close the school and find another way to raise money,” said Jerry Uppencamp.

More than one month after the property tax referendum was voted down, the Pike County School Board voted Monday night to close Otwell Elementary. Pike County Superintendent Suzanne Blake says it wasn’t an easy decision.

“We exceeded our appropriation for general funds for by $2.7 million in 2013 and we exceeded by $2.3 million in 2014. We know we cannot continue to do that,” said Pike County Superintendent Suzanne Blake.

The referendum would have generated about $2.3 million annually. It would have helped the nearly $4 million loan Blake says she currently has.

“We know the 29 cent rate was a little high but that roughly would have brought in what we exceeded appropriations last year,” said Blake.
The increase was for every $100 assessed value.

“We’re all close knit here and I honestly think if they knew it was going to be this dramatic they would have voted differently,” said Lashbrook.

Seven teachers will loose their jobs before the start of the next school year. Blake says where those 120 students of Otwell will attend school, is yet to be determined.

“One option could be based on where they live. Another option could be to look at grade levels. There are some districts looking at reconfiguration and doing more of a primary focus and intermediate focus,” said Blake.

The announcement has Otwell residents wondering what will happen next. School officials say the closure of Otwell Elementary is expected to save about $700,000 dollars per year.

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