Closing a school is always an emotional decision for those involved in the process. It has become a common occurrence for many districts dealing with declining enrollment and budget issues.

One area community faced that reality Wednesday night (February 25, 2015).

In an effort to save about $400,000, the Gladbrook-Reinbeck School Board voted to close the district's elementary and middle school building in Gladbrook at the end of the current academic year. The vote was 5-2.

In the future, students will attend classes at the district's two remaining buildings in Reinbeck. Students in kindergarten through sixth-grade will be sent to Reinbeck Elementary starting this fall, while the current high school building will house seventh- through 12th-graders.

The board made its decision Wednesday after discussing the issue for nearly an hour. Before that, several people tried to persuade school leaders to choose a different plan during a 30-minute public comment session.

School board members were recently presented with four options designed to save money and help the district balance its 2015-16 budget. The other three plans focused on closing Reinbeck Elementary, but none of them would have saved the district as much money as closing the Gladbrook building.

In the end, the majority of the board members felt that shuttering the Gladbrook education center was the best option for the district's future. According to Superintendent Shawn Holloway, enrollment in the Gladbrook-Reinbeck school district has fallen from nearly 800 students to about 600 over the past decade.

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