Because the proposed Barbour County excess levy and bond call both failed in the Nov. 6 general election, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Super said Tuesday that tough decisions will have to be made by the school board.
"The kids are the biggest losers in this," Super said during Tuesday's Barbour County Board of Education meeting. "I'm very sure our board will take into serious consideration and do their due diligence."
Super said all viable options will be double-, triple- and quadruple-checked prior to submitting them to the board.
"We cannot continue to operate the way we have been," Super said. "We've got a fiscal responsibility to this community."
The school board will do some research into the cost of repackaging and running a special election to take another shot at passing a levy, school board officials said. However, the school board will have to decide whether or not that option is cost effective.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, board members discussed the possibility of breaking down the athletic facility project proposed in the school bond call into smaller projects, possibly by eliminating the proposed turf for the football field.
Earlier, officials reported that two elementary schools in the county, Mount Vernon Elementary and Century-Volga Elementary, were at less than 50 percent capacity and may have to be shut down, generating a longer bus trip for the students that depend on those schools.
While the possibility of closing those schools could be an option, there is also a school operating above capacity. Kathy Chitester, a teacher at Belington Elementary School, refers to the school as being crowded "elbow to elbow, knee to knee."
Chitester said the school's capacity for the shared cafeteria and gymnasium is 293. However, 345 students are currently enrolled, making it difficult for the entire school to gather in the room at once for special events.
The school board will have to consider whether or not to move fifth grade students from the elementary school to Belington Middle School, officials said. Another option may include separating the schoolchildren into two facilities, a primary and intermediate school, where pre-kindergarten through second graders would attend one facility and third through fifth graders would attend another.
Also, Chitester said parking is a problem at the school, with a staff of 42 sharing 35 parking spaces, leaving nowhere for parents or visitors to stop. The school averages 72 vehicles a day driven by parents who are picking up or dropping off children, she said.
Board members said all options must be considered.
"We need to throw those options out there on the table and take a look at where we're at," Board member Dana Stemple said.