The Cassia County School Board voted 3-2 to close Almo Elementary school on Thursday night. The K-3 school is one of Idaho's smallest.
Chris James, the fiscal manager for the district, says only eight students are registered to attend Almo Elementary next year. James says the decision to close the school was not an easy one.
"It’s hard to run a business with 8 customers," James says.
School Board Member Bruce Thompson, who voted to close Almo, says he wishes the board "was in the business of opening schools." Yet to keep the school open next year, he estimates it would cost the district around $25,000.
In a discussion after the vote, the board determined that it will consider keeping the school open for another year if the community can raise $21,000 by the end of next week. At that point, the board will need to notify the state as to whether the school will be open or closed this August.
In the meantime, community members are organizing to raise the funds to keep the school open. Almo resident Jan Durfee says a group that met on Friday morning was able to raise almost half of the $21,000. Durfee also says parents have volunteered to do the custodial work at Almo Elementary and to drive their kids to school each day to lessen the financial impact, but she says that did not seem to sway the board.
Some parents and grandparents are particularly concerned about the long bus rides to the other closest elementary school, Raft River Elementary in Malta. That school is about 25 miles away from Almo Elementary, but the bus route is longer.
Correction: The radio version of this story that aired on Friday, June 21 stated there were no kindergarteners enrolled to attend Almo Elementary school next year. There are, in fact, two enrolled.
Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen
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