Wilcox names schools for possible closure
Pinellas schools Superintendent Clayton Wilcox today named a number of schools for possible closure, a move prompted by district enrollment declines that are expected to continue for years.
Wilcox named nine elementaries that are among schools that could close at the end of the 2007-08 academic year: Anona, Clearview Avenue, Gulf Beaches, Largo Central, North Ward, Orange Grove, Rio Vista, San Jose and South Ward. Also slated to close is Riviera Middle School.
The School Board last month authorized Wilcox to start choosing schools he would close as part of a push to reorganize the system. At the time, Wilcox said likely candidates would be schools that are older, have low enrollment or lie in flood-prone areas of the county.
Wilcox cautioned board members at an afternoon workshop that the list is preliminary and subject to change. Wilcox, however, did say that principals at most of the schools have been contacted about the possible closures.
The district has seen enrollment decline for three years and expects another drop when classes resume Aug. 21. By 2010, the state projects Pinellas will be down to 102,801 students - a drop of nearly 10,000 from the high of 112,520 in 2003-04.