Rheems Elementary School

Rheems Elementary School

- When: School board meeting, Jan. 28.

- What happened: The district might be closing two of its four elementary schools to save money, the superintendent told the board.

- What it means: Superintendent Michele Balliet described the option to consolidate primary school grades into two buildings as “incredibly preliminary.” This possibility comes as planning was about to begin for the district’s next renovation project, at Rheems Elementary, slated to begin in 2021. Balliet didn’t name which schools would be open or closed during the meeting. However, Bainbridge and East High elementary schools were renovated in recent years, making it “highly logical” those two schools would remain open, district spokesman Troy Portser said after the meeting.

- Quotable: Balliet said this new option could be “a potential opportunity to shift and save dollars, consolidate debt service, increase operational efficiencies while continue to provide the high-quality education that we desire and that our community has grown to expect.”

- What’s next: Balliet had no dollar amounts on potential cost savings at this time but will come back to the board with more information, possibly at the March 11 workshop meeting.

- Shifting GEARS: Board President Terry Seiders reported he delivered a letter at the Jan. 27 meeting of Greater Elizabethtown Area Recreation & Community Services stating the district’s intent to withdraw by the end of this year from the recreational services partnership the district has with three municipalities: Elizabethtown Borough and Mount Joy and West Donegal townships. GEARS will be allowed to continue using district facilities.

- Why it’s important: The board’s position is the district is charged with delivering high-quality education to school-age children, while municipalities are responsible for recreation. The letter also includes plans to develop a contract with the recreation group with regard to before- and after-school child care at the elementary schools.