Following discussion at December’s Meade School Board meeting on the future of the county’s rural schools, Superintendent Jeff Simmons has said he will lead no further discussion on potential rural school closures. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, the closure of the rural Elm Springs school is currently not on the table for the Meade School District.
At that December meeting, the rural schools were only on the agenda as a discussion item, and it was decided that a plan must be developed for their futures. On January 2nd, Superintendent Jeff Simmons presented an overview of the efficiencies of the districts’ rural schools to constituents in Elm Springs. Business Manager Brett Burditt and school board members Joe Urbaniak and Tracy Konst also attended.
Rural families expounded the importance of rural schools in their communities, which often use the school as hubs. Due to the large expanse of the school district, however, the entire district must work under certain budgetary constraints. The average cost per rural student in Meade County is $11,077 and the district’s efficiency line is $5,564 per student. While other district schools, including Sturgis Brown High School, operate at costs higher than efficiency, rural costs remain highest.
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