Riverside School District considers closing Leroy Elementary

PAINESVILLE, OH (WOIO) - A combination of declining enrollment and deteriorating buildings is leading one local school district to consider closing a popular elementary school. 
Parents and students are unhappy about it and want answers about why this is happening and alternative solutions at least considered. 

 Discussions about the future of Leroy School have been going on since January of last year, but parents in the district have only recently gotten wind of the possible closure and now they're starting to activate.
A school can be the heart of a neighborhood, so no one likes to hear discussion about their school closing down. But Riverside Schools Superintendent Jim Kalis says that in the last five years district enrollment has d ropped by more than 900 students. 

They've also been dealing with aging buildings and expensive upkeep issues, like the asbestos in Hale Road Elementary School.  According to him, Leroy Elementary School has the lowest enrollment and is in the worst condition.

But parents in Leroy are uneasy about the idea of splitting their kids up among the rest of the district's elementary schools.

"Why is my son losing the best teachers in the district? Why is my son going to be put on a bus for an hour? To me it should be across the district if that's what they're going to choose to do," one mother said at a Thursday night community meeting.

Others don't feel like there has been enough communication.

"I found out from my second-grader, 'Hey mom, did you know they're thinking about closing the school?' What do you tell her? She is scared to death," said another parent.

"I recognize that our residents of Leroy, they are tied to that school.  It is a very emotional thing for them," said School Board member Belinda Grassi.
She says it's bigger community issue than just Leroy School.

"We are looking at multiple buildings then going into one facility.  And we are looking at actually putting up two elementary schools and decommissioning four.  That's kind of where we are in the process,"
she said.
Members of the community are encouraged to attend the School Board's work session on Feb. 16, where a facilities committee will present their recommendations after an 18-month study.

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