The Wenatchee School Board will decide Tuesday whether to close Columbia Elementary School. 

The school district announced plans for the closure in January to help offset a $9 million budget shortfall going into the next school year. 

The plan has been met with strong opposition from teachers and parents of students who attend Columbia Elementary. 

Two public hearings were held leading up to Tuesday's school board meeting with near unanimous criticism of the possible closure. 

Columbia is the second smallest school in the district with 341 students. It has experienced a declining enrollment of 26.5% in the past eight years. 

The district attributes its declining enrollment to an increase in education options locally, a decrease in birth rates, and an increase in housing costs. 

The option to save the district $8-9 million going into the net school year includes these elements: 

  • Close Columbia Elementary school to save $2.9 million 
  • Place all three middle schools on the same schedule, which would save $2 million 
  • Change the high school schedule by reducing the number of classes from eight to six. Instead of taking four classes one day and four classes the next day, high school students would take the same six classes each day. The move would save $660,000 annually. 
  • Make additional staff reductions to save $1 million. 
  • Reducing spending on district materials, supplies, and operating costs would save $2.5 million. 

The school district presented the school board with a second option, which would leave Columbia Elementary open for one more school year. The district advised against the second option because of compounding budget shortage issues. 

45 Famous Alumni from Washington State High Schools

Gallery Credit: Reesha Cosby

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