B y Christina Scanlon

The study that recommended closure of Mary J. Tanner School will get a closer look soon, with the public invited to participate.

Granville Board of Education president Audrey Hicks said the public will play an important role in the future of the Middle Granville school.

“We really have to look at all the options, not just one study,” she said. “There are other options. We’d like to meet and get it down to two options before we meet in the spring.”

In the meantime, several things will take place.

First, the district’s strategic planning committee will meet Oct. 29. The meeting is public and expected to focus on reviewing the findings of the study that suggested closing the facility.

Following that, a round-table meeting will be scheduled for stake-holders to further discuss the study and possible options.

While the study recommended closure based on the financial standing of the district and declining enrollment, Hicks said there are other things to consider.

“Closing it would put us at maximum capacity,” she said.

That could cause problems if the district saw a growth in population.

Dr. Paul Seversky, who conducted the study, was reached for comment. “It would be inappropriate for me to express an opinion or recommendation for the district,” he wrote in an email.

Projected enrollments, according to his report, estimate total enrollment in the district may decrease by 230 students over the next 10 years. The most optimistic estimate suggests enrollment may decrease by 70 students over the same period.

Reducing the district to two buildings could also rule out potential in the future to consolidate with other districts.

“It may be that we are under-utilizing the building,” said Hicks. “Maybe the question we need to answer is how do we better utilize the building?”

Some ideas that have been bounced around are to use the building for BOCES programs or adult education.

“The public will let us know if that is feasible or something they want,” said Hicks. “They may have even better ideas out there.”

That public input would follow the round-table meeting, when at least one public forum is arranged.

By then, a presentation of the study and other options will be formulated.

“This is all just a work on progress,” Hicks said. “We are still in the information gathering and opinion gathering stage. The community has a say in this. It’s important we take this step by step. We are really reaching out to the community.”

The board is hopeful to come up with a decision in the spring, based on the next few months of meetings and public involvement.

Hicks said she is hopeful the decision can then be put to a vote.

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