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Welcome school will close in September

SHERBURN — The Martin County West School Board has voted to close the Welcome school.

The building will be closed Sept. 30, and an evacuation of tenants and salvaging of useful equipment will be held. The site, however, will not be demolished.

The resolution to close the school cited a lack of educational use, declining enrollment, loss of revenue, and needed repairs when operations can be more efficiently established in alternative locations.

Two amendments were proposed. One would have set the closing date in June 2021. It was defeated, 4-3, as was a second amendment to close the site by March 2021.

Superintendent Allison Schmidt now must notify the tenants with written notice, and arrange the transfer of programs and groups using the building, and consult with staff and coaches utilizing the facility.

Board members agreed the decision was difficult. Discussion was held about consulting people in all Martin County West communities and assuring them the district will always have a presence, including in Welcome.

A 2019 survey was mentioned more than once, given the fact that 67% of those answering voiced the opinion that the school should be closed.

Board members agreed it is important to note that the resolution is not to demolish the building but to close it and formulate a plan, to talk about all possibilities, such as practices and a possible daycare, gymnastics and other options.

Some plans for the gymnastics program are under way, with practices spread out to other school buildings. Preschool has been moved to Sherburn and Trimont, and ECFE will be probably be housed in Trimont.

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