Monterey Elementary closing rumors surround April 25 meeting

Rumors have been circulating in the Culver-Monterey area as to the fate of the Monterey Elementary School, a part of the Culver Community School Corporation. Specifically, word has spread that April 25’s school board meeting may officially sound the death knell for the school.
Culver Community Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt, however, says the future of Monterey Elementary is just one part of a larger discussion planned for the meeting as to possible budget cuts at the state level. As detailed in the March 24 edition of the Culver Citizen, various factors in Culver’s situation -- combined with proposed legislation still in discussion at the statehouse -- will likely cost Culver schools some $1 million in revenues, if the legislation passes. The school corporation would need to implement cost reductions over a two-year period, in such a situation, to compensate for the loss. And yes, says Schuldt, one topic on the table is the potential closing of Monterey...though it isn’t the only topic.
“We will have an agenda item (on April 25) to begin work on cutting expenses,” says Schuldt, “and the discussion will include the possibility of closing Monterey. It will probably include discussions on several different ways to get to the necessary expense level. Nothing has been decided yet.”
He adds he’s sure there will be some analysis of how dollars would be saved, specifically, if Monterey Elementary closes its doors.
Monterey Elementary. which includes grades kindergarten through 6th, has vascillated between around 135 and 180 students over the past ten years. Closing the school would result in an increase of around six students per classroom in Culver Elementary, where Monterey’s students would presumably go.
Schuldt noted in the March 24 article that the school board had already taken part in a workshop on various options to cut costs. These included, he said in the article, possible staff cuts and other measures.
“If this budget is passed,” he told the Citizen, “the worst case scenario is, we’re looking at a reduction in teachers and non-certified staff. That means larger class sizes, and it could mean ‘pay-to-play’ in some sports through user fees, or elimination of some of the extra coaching positions, or even elimination of some of the sports we fund. Extracurriculars like art and music suffer. It’s something that’s going to be difficult.
“We have some expenses at Monterey Elementary we have to look at,” he continued. “Even consideration of whether to keep that building open, even though Monterey has been an exemplary school for several years. But it’s the second smallest K through 6th building in the state of Indiana “
The Culver Community School board will meet Monday, April 25 at 7 p.m. in the administration building on School Street, for its regular public meeting.