Council holds work session at school

Local News

The City Council two years ago fought to keep the Winnebago Elementary School open.

Now, they may have to try and save Southern Plains Education Cooperative’s (SPEC) learning center located at the former school.

Members of the council and Economic Development Authority on May 31 toured the alternative school as part of a work session.

“They’re doing good things there,” says Councilman Scott Robertson. “It would be a loss to the city if they left.”

“We asked if there is anything we can help them with to try and keep them here. We want them to know there is good relations with the city,” he adds.

Southern Plains executive director Sarah Mittelstadt says city officials requested the tour and were happy to oblige.

A memo in the June 13 council meeting packet says the tour was to offer Southern Plains officials support and encouragement.

Mittelstadt has said in the past that the co-op will be in Winnebago for at least the 2017-18 school year.

She says the building has major repairs that need to be addressed or the co-op has to find another site.

At their April meeting, members of the Granada-Huntley-East Chain (GHEC) School Board discussed plans to find a new location.

Robertson says Southern Plains has between and 75 and 100 students in grades K-12 from the school districts of BEA; Fairmont Area; Martin County West; GHEC; Truman; and United South Central.

BEA officials cited deferred maintenance costs of $5 million over a 10-year period as one reason for closing the elementary school.

“Our hands are tied, the building is owned by the school district,” says Robertson. “We could help them find some federal or state funding.”

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