School board considering re-opening closed elementary school

GWINN — The Gwinn Area Community Schools are considering re-opening a school building that they recently closed.

In April 2013, the school board voted to close Gilbert Elementary School. Gwinn’s elementary classes moved that fall into K.I. Sawyer Elementary, which is a larger building.

However, Sawyer School is now operating at 110% capacity. The superintendent says the district needs to do something to ease the overcrowding.

“There are different options we’re looking at, either making it a K–5 like Sawyer School or splitting the classes to where one would be a K-2 and the other school would be a 3-5,” Gwinn superintendent Dru Milliron said. “What we have to do right now is see the financial viability of it, as well as what’s going to be educationally best for the students.”

The school board is expecting to have a decision by its April 13th meeting. Many parents, especially parents that live in Gwinn itself, were upset about Gilbert’s closure.

“They like to have the idea of a neighborhood school,” continued Milliron. “They like the opportunity of their children to walk to school instead of the long bus rides that they’re currently on right now, so those are the two big things that I’m hearing.”

Gilbert’s closure led to a recall effort against the school board members that voted for it. However, the Marquette County Election Commission rejected the recall papers and the issue never made it onto the ballot.