Jerome Prairie Elementary Could Close

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GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Enrollment in the Three Rivers School District has declined by thousands of students in the last 12 years. Now, school officials say they’re in a tough spot budget-wise. Three Rivers School District is considering several options to save money and that could mean closing Jerome Prairie Elementary School.

Principal Lisa Van Brunt says over the last 12 years, the school district has lost 2,000 kids and the most severe declining enrollment seen at Jerome Prairie Elementary School. The principal believes families moving into the city or out of the state are a few reasons, but whatever the case, it’s hurting Three Rivers School District.

For the 2013 to 2014 school year the district is now looking at a little over $2 million budget shortfall. Besides closing down Jerome Prairie Elementary School, district officials are considering consolidation of schools, grade levels or changing the school’s transportation methods.

“Certainly, the district will look at everything and they have done many many things before they got to this place. We’re just simply in that place financially where there aren’t a lot of good choices anymore. So, these are the tough choices now,” the principal said.

The principal also said, if the district decides to close Jerome Prairie Elementary School, she’s not sure if teachers will lose their jobs. School officials plan to meet again at the next board meeting on October 15th to continue the discussion. They plan to have a final recommendation for the board in the coming winter.