Benzie Central School board votes to close school


BENZIE COUNTY (WPBN/WGTU) -- In an unanimous vote the Benzie Central School Board has decided to close one of their schools.

This upcoming school year Platte River Elementary School will shut down and merge with Crystal Lake Elementary.

"When you look at it what is the ultimate goal here? We want to have the best opportunities for our kids educationally to walk out of here with a high school diploma and to go on and be productive in society, that's our ultimate goal," said Benzie Central Schools Board Member Chris Noffsinger.

In fewer than 10 years the district has lost around 400 students, which means they have also lost a significant amount of funding.

If something isn't done quickly the state could have to get involved.

"I looked at it from a mom point of view and as a board member point of view and both views ended up the same at the end," said Benzie Central Schools Board Member Nicki Brown.

Many of the other board members who are also parents said their decision hit close to home.

"Those of you that know me know that my kids are pretty important to me and know that I'm not going to make a decision that's going to affect them in the wrong way," said Benzie Central Schools Board Member Brian Childs.

But some of the people against the idea said they just can't get behind the decision.

"I've got five grandkids and one child in Benzie school systems, and I will make sure that not one of them go back to Benzie Central Schools," said one parent.

"I'd rather drive them up to Traverse. I just honestly can't do it," said another parent.

A main concern for some parents against the school closing is that they believe Crystal Lake Elementary isn't big enough for all the students.

Benzie Central Schools Superintendent said class sizes wont be any bigger than 25 students.

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