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Rural schools to stay open

Lundy Elementary School on Mount Charleston and Goodsprings Elementary School near the California border were reprieved Thursday by the Clark County School Board, which voted to postpone a decision on closing the two rural sites for a year.

Both campuses will stay open through 2009-10, much to the relief of parents and students who dreaded the long, daily bus rides to other schools.

Goodsprings residents were spared the heartbreak of closing their 96-year-old school, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The School Board voted 6-0 in favor of the postponement and were rewarded with applause from an audience packed with affected families and community members. School Board member Larry Mason was absent.

The crowd outnumbered the enrollment at both K-5 schools: Lundy has nine students, and Goodsprings has six students.

The economic downturn has made the district question the continued operation of the two rural schools. Staff estimated that the district was spending about $21,000 per child at Lundy and Goodsprings versus the $7,000 spent per pupil at a city school.

Speakers at the meeting pledged to do whatever it takes to keep Lundy and Goodsprings open, from contributing money for supplies to volunteering as custodians or gym and music teachers.

“I will have those kids bench-pressing 220 (pounds) and playing Rachmaninoff,” said Deanna Rabice, a parent whose 9-year-old daughter, Allie, is in the third grade at Lundy.

The bonds between the communities and their schools helped to sway the board members, who said they wanted more time to investigate issues, such as whether the closures would produce real savings.

Board members acknowledged that the residents found “discrepancies” in district staff’s financial figures.

And the board was reluctant to subject children to prolonged bus rides. Students from Mount Charleston would have been sent to Indian Springs Elementary School, 43 miles away.

School Board member Carolyn Edwards, who made the motion for postponement, warned the crowd that school closures remain a possibility.

Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4686.

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