Pinellas to consider closing five schools
Pinellas school administrators have identified five elementary schools for possible closure next year, The Gradebook learned this afternoon. The schools are:
* Gulf Beaches Elementary in St. Pete Beach
* Kings Highway Elementary in Clearwater
* North Ward Elementary in Clearwater
* Palm Harbor Elementary in Palm Harbor
* Rio Vista Elementary in St. Petersburg
Three of the schools -- Gulf Beaches, North Ward and Rio Vista -- were on a list of potential school closings last year.
"The district is responding to a number of difficult factors -- declining enrollment and a budget picture that seems to worsen by the day," said district spokeswoman Andrea Zahn. But she emphasized that the list was preliminary. The School Board will discuss the issue at a workshop Tuesday.
Last year, the district identified 10 schools that might be closed, but ended up closing only three: Riviera Middle School, South Ward Elementary in Clearwater and Largo Elementary.
Clearview Elementary was to be closed last year as well. But officials delayed the closing over concerns that there may not be enough elementary seats in South Pinellas in the first year of the new "close to home" schools system. Clearview will be closed next year as planned.