Western Dubuque School District mulls future of Bernard Elementa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Western Dubuque School District mulls future of Bernard Elementary

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BERNARD (KWWL) -

A small, but beloved elementary school in Eastern Iowa could be closing soon.

Bernard Elementary, currently home to just 31 students, may not be open when students go to school next year.

The Western Dubuque School District says dropping enrollment along with higher costs per student may force them to close the school.

Superintendent Rick Colpitts says it costs about $14,000 per student at Bernard compared to about $7,000 at other schools in the district.

The potential closing has many in Bernard very upset.

"It'll be very heartbreaking. I'm not a parent, but someday I hope to be a parent, and I hope my kids would be able to get the same experience that I did growing up in a small town school," said 21-year-old Maggie Gravel.  She's leading the charge to save the school.

"We presented to the board that we're willing to work with them and come up with a positive solution."

Colpitts says he and the school board are fully aware of the sentiment many feel towards the school, which is why they held a meeting in Bernard to talk about the future of the school.

"It is emotional. I mean, when you're talking about closing a school down in a community, it's a shot to the community. So we want to make sure we listen, and that we look into all the options we have, and try to problem solve this the best we can," he said.

No decisions have been made on the future of the school, but they expect to make one in the next few months.

If the school closes, it would be effective for next school year.

The students at Bernard would go to Cascade Elementary School, where an addition paid for with a  2012 bond referendum, is nearly complete.

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