Why Is Elmhurst On The Chopping Block?

By Brien McElhatten

June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 5, 2010 at 7:40 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - It is 80 years old and its students have above average ISTEP scores, so why are FWCS officials considering closing Elmhurst High School?

In order to trim $15 million from the district's budget, leaders were forced to look at school closures. With 53 school buildings, administrators looked at several parameters for each building, comparing schools on what is called the "facility decision matrix."

The system looks at several criteria including a particular school's advanced course offerings, estimated future investments in infrastructure and how well students could "fit" into other buildings if the School was to close.

The only high school that meets all criteria is Elmhurst. Officials say its 848 students would be absorbed perfectly into other buildings without the need for additions. While ISTEP scores are high at Elmhurst, advanced placement courses aren't as numerous compared to programs at other schools. That is largely a function of the school's smaller student population.

In addition, investment in the building's infrastructure is expected to be high. Officials estimate a $25 million price tag to bring the school up to standards.

A similar protocol was used to target Pleasant Center Elementary for closure.

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