The Board of Ed wants to explore options for the future of the school building.
Frederick, Md (KM). Sabillasville Elementary School will remain open for another year. During Wednesday night’s meeting, the Frederick County Board of Education agreed to keep the school open through the 2020-2021 academic year..
Board President Brad Young, who made the passing motion, said the school system will evaluate options for the future of the school building, which will involve working with the community on solutions. “There is some [point where it doesn’t make it practical to operate a huge building for 50 people or less. But we need help on figuring what that way is. And, again, there are potential ways that that can be done,” he says.
The deadline set by the School Board is December 31st, 2020.
The current enrollment at Sabillasville Elementary School is 78 students, according to a report from the Superintendent which was presented to the Board of Ed on Wednesday. It also projects enrollment will decline to 53 students by the fall of 2024.
The report recommends the school be closed due to declining enrollments and the cost of operating and maintaining the building with a small number of students. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Theresa Alban said that the HVAC and other mechanical systems in the building are beyond their expected life, and if they went down today, repairs would cost $4.2-million.
The school opened in 1964 and has 27,000 square feet, the second smallest in the county.
Sabillasville area residents showed on Wednesday evening to express their support for the school, noting that Sabillasville Elementary was named a Blue Ribbon school by the US Department of Education.
In a separate motion made by Board Member Liz Barrett, the Board of Education agreed to work with the county, municipalities and other entities on the future uses of the building while maintaining it as an elementary school. “We can talk about all the can’ts, but we haven’t explored the cans here yet,” Barrett said to applause from the audience. “It doesn’t mean we might not come to the same terrible decision.”
Board President Brad Young said letting the school continue operations with declining enrollments won’t be easy. “There is some point at which it is impossible to run a school,” he says. “We haven’t set a number whether that 30, 50 or 70. There is a number which it’s tough to feasibly run a school……If we’re going to look for a solution, the demographics of that areas don’t show that the solution’s going to come from growth.”
Due to Wednesday’s vote, Young said the public hearing scheduled for March 11th on whether to keep Sabillasville Elementary School open has been canceled.
By Kevin McManus