Harlem School Board considers closing elementary school

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MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WTVO) — A change could be coming to the Harlem School District. Among those changes is the possible closure of Marquette Elementary School for the 2021-2022 school year.

Recently, school board members were given eight different recommendations for changes to the district. District leaders say plummeting enrollment numbers are to blame.

“In 2008 our student enrollment was about 7600 and we currently are at about 6000 students in the district, so over the last 12 years we’ve seen a decline of about 1600 kids,” explained the Director of Stakeholder Management, Jason Blume.

Blume says the drop in enrollment is due to families waiting longer to have kids, then moving out of Illinois.

If the school closes, 1st through 3rd grade students would move to Machesney Elementary, which currently teaches grades 4th through 6th.

Machesney Elementary 6th graders would transfer to Harlem Middle School to make room for the influx of new students.

The Harlem School Board will vote on the issue at the next meeting on March 9th.

If passed, the Marquette building would be transformed into a district health clinic.

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