DELPHOS — Landeck Elementary School could sit empty after the school year ends.
The school board is considering the probable closing of the building and consolidating the students in the Franklin Elementary building when school starts next fall.
A letter was sent out to Landeck Elementary parents on Dec. 7 alerting them to the meeting.
A special meeting to discuss this issue will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at Delphos Jefferson High School’s cafeteria.
“We want to share with our community the purpose behind this highly probable decision, and it’s due primarily due to finances and declining enrollment,” said Joel Hatfield interim superintendent for Delphos schools.
The board is expected to decide the fate of Landeck Elementary at their next board meeting on Dec. 17.
“If the board approves the decision with this recommendation, it would close at the end of this school year. Finance is the main reason. We’re a school district that has never been helped by any of the changes in school funding because of the situation we’re in and how we fall in the school foundation, so we’re looking at, even at the end of this school year, operating at a deficit. Then by the time we get to year 3 of this 5-year forecast, which just came out within the last month, we’ll actually have a negative balance, unless we make some major changes in our district finances. The other side of that is we’re looking at an ongoing declining of enrollment. For instance, in our two elementary schools, both Franklin and Landeck, in the 2014-15 school year, we had 526 students in those two schools. Currently, in this 2018-19 school year, we have about 408, so that’s a tremendous decline in our enrollment,” said Hatfield.
Right now, only 85 students are enrolled at Landeck Elementary, a building which is being leased from the Delphos parochial schools.
“Those [students] would be absorbed back in the Franklin Elementary here in town, and then to make room for them, we will move the 5th graders from Franklin and Landeck to the middle school. We have a good amount of space that we can handle them there,” added Hatfield.
He pointed out the challenges the public school district faces in Delphos.
“The fact that we have one of the largest Catholic school student populations percentage-wise in the state of Ohio impacts our funding. I had a conversation with [Sen.] Matt Huffman not long ago, and he readily admitted that Delphos is one of the most unique school districts in the state. In fact, he called it an anomaly. It’s just been really difficult to pass levies here. The community does support renewals but because we have such a large number of students that attend St. John’s, it makes it difficult for the public school to pass any new money,” said Hatfield.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.