School officials said they’re trying to think of ideas to close a $4.5 million deficit projected for next year’s budget. Closing the Johnstown Middle School is one of the cost-cutting options they’re considering.
The assistant superintendent for the Greater Johnstown School District, Amy Arcurio, said closing the Johnstown Middle School would allow the district to continue to provide quality programs, resources and staff for the students.
If the middle school were to close, the goal would be to absorb the 650 students and 65 faculty into the three other schools in the district. There is not yet a plan on how that would be accomplished.
They believe that it will save them $1-$1.5 million each year.
Arcurio also said she understands the shock and concern that the community may feel.
“We recognize the landmark of Johnstown Middle School for the Greater Johnstown community. The building has been there for over 100 years. With school closure and those conversations, brings a lot of emotion and we know this is not an easy decision,” said Arcurio.
School officials are also considering other ways to bridge the budget gap, like pay-freezes for the administration and grant funding.
Arcurio said it’s still early in the decision process and nothing is final yet.
A public hearing will be held on Thursday, March 2nd at 6 p.m. in the Johnstown Middle School cafeteria, where parents, teachers and other people from the community can express their concerns about the middle school potentially closing. After that hearing, there is a mandatory 90-day “cooling off” period before any decisions can be made.