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Pahrump closing elementary school due to lack of money, low enrollment
by Associated Press
Jan 23, 2011 | 683 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
PAHRUMP — The Nye County school board voted to close an elementary school in Pahrump because of declining enrollment and a tighter budget.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported the board voted to close Mt. Charleston Elementary and eliminate seven jobs after this school year ends. Officials said the move will save $625,000 in salaries and $140,000 in utilities.

School officials said the teachers and students will be transferred to one of four elementary schools left in the district.

Principal Tim Wombaker said some staff members are taking the news better than others.

“It’s so hard to separate a group that’s been together for so long and done so many great things,” said Wombaker, who has been the school’s principal the past 10 years.

Wombaker said almost everyone understands the reality of the situation.

“We need teachers more than we need buildings,” he said.

Superintendent Rob Roberts says the district has lost nearly 600 students, including 385 would-be elementary school students, since 2006.

“That’s an elementary school right there,” he said.

Roberts says a decline of 234 students this school year means the district will get $1.5 million less in state funding next year.

Without closing the school or cutting the costs in other ways, the district would have had to lay off about 24 teachers, he said.

“It’s not to say teachers won’t lose their jobs when the governor and the Legislature unveil the budget cuts they plan to drop on us,” he said.

Citizens have 30 days to formally ask the district to reconsider its decision.

Mt. Charleston Elementary was built in 1994, and cost about $2 million, Wombaker said.

“It served its purpose. It housed those kids for 15 or 16 years,” Roberts said. “But it’s very expensive to operate.”
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