Mentor planning to close two schools to save $7 million dollars

MENTOR, OHIO - Declining enrollment in one Lake County school district is forcing two schools to permanently close.

"I understand this may not be easy news to hear but it is important to share," said William Porter, interim Superintendent of Mentor Public Schools via a YouTube video to parents.

For the 2018-2019 school year, both Garfield and Brentmoor Elementary will close. Ridge Middle School will reopen as an elementary school.

All middle school students will attend Shore or Memorial. Additionally, the boundaries of two other elementary schools were changed.

At last check, district officials could not say for certain how many staff members if any would lose their jobs as a result of new plan.

Some parents say they worry how class sizes will be impacted by moving children to other buildings.

"My concern is just the numbers that will be at the middle schools in the future," said parent Barbara Mancari.

A school spokesperson says all three middle schools were operating at just 60 percent. Officials say the changes are a proactive measure, to fight population decline.

According to the district, population at the schools peaked in the mid 1990's, with more than 11,000 students enrolled. Today that number is closer to 7,500 students excluding pre-schoolers.

"I know this is a lot of change and I certainly realize that change can often be difficult but please know this decision was not made lightly," said Porter.

The first in a series of meetings about the changes next school year happens at 5:30 p.m. on January 11 at Paradigm, 6465 Center Street.