A special meeting at the Bern High School Gym Monday evening drew a large crowd. The meeting was called by the Prairie Hills USD 113 Board of Education to discuss the possibility of closing the Bern School.
Prairie Hills Superintendent Dennis Stones explained the district must to prepare a decrease in funding. State funding was guaranteed for five years when the Sabetha-Wetmore and Axtell-Bern-Summerfield school districts agreed to consolidate last year. Stones said the district could see a loss of more than $965,000 in funding for the 2015-2016 school year. According to information presented at the meeting, since the 2007-2008 school year the full-time equivalency enrollment at Bern as dropped from 135 to 107, a decrease of 20.5 percent.
Jeff Grossenbacher is the chairman of a citizen’s committee working to save the school says the committee plans to present the board with a business plan in the next two weeks to attract and increase student enrollment both in the short and long-term. If the board deems the building should close, a hearing would be held in the community where the public would be given an opportunity to present information to the board. The board would then vote on the possible closure of the building.