About the district’s decision to close Bryant Elementary School
The decision to close a school building was informed by a 2018-19 long-range facility study by LaBella Associates, followed by comprehensive building and operations review by the Facilities Committee. Both studies involved the participation and feedback of Hornell stakeholders and built a strong case for the reduction of the district’s footprint based on student enrollment trends.
Since 2010, student enrollment in grades K-12 has dropped steadily at a total rate of 21.7% representing a loss of 392 students across Hornell programs.
Considering all options available to the district, the Facilities Committee reviewed every school building for its potential and its challenges. Fundamentally, other school buildings can house more students, run more efficiently, and have benefitted from more recent investment in upgrades. Over time, every assessment pointed to Bryant School as the clear choice for a building closure.
As such, Bryant School is slated for closure, independently of the voters’ decision on the building sale. The district is already implementing a building reconfiguration plan and beginning to move grade-levels to the Intermediate School. A NO vote would just mean that the empty building would remain the responsibility of the district and its taxpayers--including maintaining it into the future, without aid from the state.
Conversely, Bryant’s closure, and the ensuing program consolidation at North Hornell Elementary and the Intermediate School, will bring expense reductions in personnel/benefits, utilities and maintenance points and an estimated savings in excess of $550,000 per budget year, for the next five years.
Since a footprint reduction was first recommended in 2018-19, the district has had time to reconcile its hiring practices with a future school closure and consolidation in mind. Namely, over the last 18 months, resignations and retirements have been replaced or backfilled with district-wide positions, substitutes and temporary hires. As such, the district is poised to achieve personnel reductions mostly through attrition, avoid layoffs, and save on unemployment costs.
The consolidation of the elementary and secondary experience into two school buildings is also expected to herald a more streamlined program for students, foster greater collaboration among faculty and staff, strengthen continuity of learning, reduce building transitions for students and families, and create a more connected and supportive school community for all.