School district considers closing Thompson Magnet to save money

VERO BEACH — School district leaders are considering closing Thompson Magnet Elementary School and sending its more than 260 students to area schools in an effort to save money.

The option was broached during a budget workshop Tuesday, during which district staff brought up the possibility of “repurposing” Thompson Magnet by converting it into a facility for voluntary pre-kindergarten and the adult education program. The School Board is expected to take up the recommendation at the March 9 board meeting, during which residents would be able to express their opinions on the issue.

Though the matter is still undecided, the district’s staff has worked out where the school’s students would go. They would be split amongst Glendale, Highlands, Vero Beach, Beachland, Dodgertown, Sebastian, and Treasure Coast elementary schools.

Whether the students at the magnet school would be given the option to transferring to the district’s other magnet schools was not immediately clear.

The district has plans to rebuild Vero Beach Elementary larger to accommodate more students.

The district expects to receive $7 million – including federal stimulus funds – less in state and federal funding for the 2010-2011 school year, bringing the funding to $113.3 million. By comparison, the district received $127.3 million from the state and federal government for the 2007-2008 school year.

If the federal government does not extend its stimulus funding, the district could receive nearly $15 million less.

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