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509-J board votes to close Westside

The 509-J Board of Directors voted unanimously Wednesday night, March 19, to close Westside Elementary next year as a cost-cutting measure in light of the district's $3.12 million budget shortfall.
   The closure will save an estimated $920,000 per year, compared to the other option, which was to increase class sizes in all elementary schools (would have saved $600,000 a year).
   With the closure of Westside, there will also be reconfiguration of grades to redistribute the students. The proposal is to have Buff be kindergarten through second grade, and Madras Elementary be third through fifth grade.
   Since Metolius Elementary can't accommodate as many students, it would remain a kindergarten through fifth grade school, but its boundaries would be larger.
   Class sizes will remain in the 24-student range, and there will be no blended classrooms.
   A story with the full details will appear in the next edition of The Pioneer.
   Superintendent
   The board's executive session to talk about superintendent selection was canceled on Wednesday night as more information was being collected.