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Conococheague closure is official

November 20, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - The Washington County Board of Education on Tuesday voted unanimously to close Conococheague Elementary School after renovations and an expansion of Maugansville Elementary School are completed.

Conococheague Elementary is not expected to close before August 2006.

Tuesday's vote, one more step in the process to officially close Conococheague Elementary, was inevitable, Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said.

"This has been deliberated for years because of the economic situation," Morgan said.

She said education will not be diminished for students from either school when they attend classes together in the renovated Maugansville Elementary School.

The School Board must create a redistricting committee one year before the school closes in order to decide what schools Conococheague Elementary students will attend. Most of those students will attend classes in the renovated Maugansville Elementary, with about 30 exceptions, said Schools Director of Facilities Management Dennis McGee.

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McGee said consolidation was the best option for saving the school system money in renovations.

McGee said the school system must notify the Conococheague Elementary staff and community of the School Board's decision to close the school and set up public hearings on the matter in accordance with School Board policies.

A feasibility study being conducted at Maugansville Elementary School should take about three months to complete, he said. The study involves looking at potential renovation designs and an inspection of Maugansville Elementary's structure and land.

The state requires such a feasibility study if a school system intends to tear down more than 25 percent of an existing school, as is being considered for Maugansville Elementary, he said.

He said the School Board will decide in mid-February whether to approve the feasibility study.

The School Board must have a written proposal for the school's closure prepared by March 31 in order to present the consolidation proposal along with funding requests to the Maryland General Assembly during its next session.

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