Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Schools

March 26, 2010

Hatcher closing recommended

Current year likely to be school’s last one

ASHLAND — The current academic year will likely be the last one for Hatcher Elementary School.

The Ashland Independent Schools’ Local Planning Committee met Thursday and voted to finalize a four-year plan for the district’s buildings and grounds that would close Hatcher, which has been designated as a “transitional” site since 2003.

The plan also would also have the district move its central offices into the Hatcher building, along with the district’s Head Start program, which is currently housed in mobile units at Poage Elementary.

The plan now goes to the state Department of Education for review and approval. Assuming the state signs off on it, it would then go back to the local planning committee for a public hearing that is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April 13 at George M. Verity Middle School, Superintendent Steve Gilmore said Thursday.

The plan would then go before the Ashland Board of Education for a vote. That’s likely to occur at the board’s April 19 meeting, Gilmore said.

Designating Hatcher for closure effectively ends the possibility that Crabbe Elementary will be shut down. In a surprise move, the committee had a motion and second last month to recommend that Crabbe — which had been designated as a pre-school-kindergarten site — be closed and that the school building become the new home for the central offices and Head Start. The plan was never voted on by the committee. That idea was met with significant community opposition.

In fact, the plan approved by the committee on Thursday recommends that Crabbe’s designation be changed from pre-school-kindergarten to a permanent kindergarten through sixth grade center, said Lisa Henson, who chairs the local planning committee.

However, Gilmore and Henson both said the outcry over the possibility of Crabbe being closed had nothing to do with the committee recommending that Hatcher be closed instead. The committee viewed the situation “through the prism of student achievement” and how that could best be served, Henson said.

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