Hutchinson elementary school could close due to low enrollment

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HUTCHINSON, Kan. An elementary school in Hutchinson could close because of low student enrollment. The district says low student enrollment has sparked discussion about whether to keep the doors open at Avenue A Elementary School.

The Hutchinson school board is leaning toward closing the school and Eyewitness News has learned the district wants to turn the Avenue A Elementary School building into a community center and to open up a new Pre-K center.

The Hutchinson school district had a similar discussion about Avenue A Elementary School in 2014. Now, the district says, it can provide parents a better option with a new pre-kindergarten (Pre-K) center. Still, not every parent supports the district's idea.

Avenue A Elementary School parent Angelita Rivira says the environment at the school is welcoming for her son and her family.

"Without Avenue A here, it's going to be hard for (my son) because he does not like large groups," Rivira says.

Hutchinson School District Superintendent Gary Price says the plan to turn the Avenue A Elementary School building into a community center and "keeping it active" can help the district become more effective and efficient.

While understanding the concern with low enrollment numbers, Rivira worries about her son's future.

"It's definitely something that we're concerned about now," she says. "..."I know any school he goes to in the district is going to be a good school, but without Avenue A, I don't know what we're going to do."

The district says it will have meetings with Avenue A Elementary School parents to talk about options on where to send their children if the school closes.The school board still has to vote on whether or not to close Avenue A Elementary School. That decision could come in the 60 to 90 days.

The Avenue A Elementary School building is valued at $1.5 million. The district says it bought the building for $400,000 and plans to use available funding to pay for future renovations over the next four years instead of seeking new taxes.