A plan to shake up the placement of Westbrook’s elementary school students hinges on an upcoming vote by the district’s school board.

The Westbrook School Committee will weigh in for the first time Wednesday on a proposal to close Prides Corner Elementary School.

Closing the school is a critical piece of a plan to create three elementary schools for kindergarten through fourth grade and move fifth-graders into Westbrook Middle School.

If the school board votes in favor of closing Prides Corner, the plan still will need final approval at a subsequent meeting. If the board votes against the closure Wednesday, the plan won’t move forward.

Westbrook now has four elementary schools. Two of them, including Prides Corner, serve kindergarten through second grade. The other two serve third through fifth grades.

At the school board meeting Wednesday, Superintendent Marc Gousse plans to show maps indicating where students who live in certain neighborhoods may attend school next year under the plan. Floor plans of the elementary and middle schools will show which classrooms would be designated for which grades.

The Prides Corner school, built in 1950, needs $8 million in immediate repairs, Gousse has said, and closing the school would save the district $500,000.

A decrease in state funding, the loss of federal stimulus money and contracted salary increases have contributed to a $2.5 million shortfall in the 2012-13 budget for Westbrook schools, according to Gousse.

The reconfiguration of grades would help close that gap. Gousse also is proposing to cut positions and increase the tax rate for schools to make up the difference. He declined to say Monday how many positions or how much of a tax increase he’s proposing.

Gousse will give copies of his proposed budget to the School Committee at its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Westbrook High School.

A community forum on the budget is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Westbrook Middle School.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]

 


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