North Butler considers Greene Elementary school closure - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

North Butler considers Greene Elementary school closure

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GREENE (KWWL) - Usually, you can hear children on the playground at Greene Elementary. Now, some parents are afraid of losing that.

A seemingly-insurmountable budget deficit has the North Butler School District considering closing the school and consolidating students to Allison.

It's an issue that could hit any small town. Superintendent Joel Foster said in fiscal year 2013, the district overspent by $43,000. Then, the next year, they went into the red $213,000.

He said part of it was budgeting, but it was also a loss of state and federal funding.

"I don't think we're looking at mistakes anybody really made," he said. "It's just a perfect storm in school finance."

The district has to make that up somehow, and one proposed option is closing Greene Elementary. With that, though, would come several layoffs.

Sarah Dralle of Greene has five children at the school. She said she's torn.

"It's not even really me losing something," she said. "But it's kids losing their hometown school. Then again, they could make new friends, have new opportunities."

Also on her mind: the extra time her kids would spend on a bus every day.

Others in Greene told KWWL that they're concerned that the loss of the elementary drops the draw for young families, and without young families, a town like Greene can fade away.

Still, even for district officials, the school closing proposal isn't a choice they want to make.

"A lot of small towns are being forced to put kids on buses longer, and it's not good for communities," Foster said. "But times are tough all over."

Two public meetings have been set to discuss the district's next steps. The first will be Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the high school in Greene. The second will be on the 27th at 7:30 at the middle school in Allison
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