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Fowler Elementary School contemplated for closure

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GOUVERNEUR — The Gouverneur Central School Board will spend the next month-and-a-half determining whether to close Fowler Elementary School as a way to help deal with declining enrollment, expected increases in costs, stagnant state aid and vacant classrooms in other buildings.

The board will welcome public comment at meetings, all of which will start at 7 p.m., Jan. 28, Feb. 11 and Feb. 25 in the high school.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” Superintendent Lauren F. French said. “We want the community to know about it.”

The district operates three elementary schools, two in the village and one in Fowler.

Major issues the board will address in whether to close the elementary school would include tradition, busing routes and times, assimilation of pupils into other schools, and the future of the building.

“I certainly respect and understand the Fowler School is a community center for that area. People enjoy the history of that building and want their children to have that experience,” Mrs. French said. “In better financial times, we would try to continue moving forward.”

Changes in staffing levels would likely not change if the school were to close because of retirements that have already taken place.

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