The District #3 school board recently decided to “mothball” the Arvada Elementary School, at least for the remainder of the 2020 school year.
The Arvada School has been in operation since July of 1892, first as an elementary and later as a high school. During the consolidation of rural schools in Wyoming, in July of 1971, the Arvada Jr. High and High School was combined with the Clearmont High School, and renamed Arvada/Clearmont.
Due to the long bus ride for many of the rural Arvada area students, it was decided to keep an elementary school in Arvada. Up until two years ago the school taught grades K-6, but with a reduction of youngsters the current years were only K-4th grade. The last few years one teacher was hired for the Arvada Elementary, and lunch was provided by Clearmont school each day. The old school still stands, but a new modular was brought in to house the school some years ago.
Superintendent Charles Auzqui said that this year there were only two students who would be attending the school, but due to the Covid-19 virus the parents decided it would be better to homeschool the students. It is also one way to cut expenses in the school, as Governor Mark Gordon has asked all Wyoming School Districts to cut their budgets by 10 to possibly 20%, Auzqui added.
The Arvada Elementary only teaches grades K-4, with one teacher for the five grades. In 2019, there were six students in the school. Auzqui said, “The two students would transition into Clearmont next year, and with the parents deciding to home school, we decided to mothball the school.” Both the students were from the same family.
Chairman of the board Amy Bohlman said that homeschooling the students was the parents choice, and she added, “We have to accept their choice. It is still a good building, and we didn’t want to close it completely yet, as it is hard to take a school out of a small community.”
Auzqui said that no jobs were lost with the school closing for the winter, as the teacher, Mrs. Grubb will be included in the Clearmont staff for the winter.
“We will revisit the issue come spring, mothballing will allow us time to decide just what to do with the school. At that time we will have two community meetings to discuss with the community the future of the school.” It was suggested that one meeting be held in Arvada, to get the input from that community as well.
The school will continue to receive a portion of state funding to maintain the building, but that will only last for three years.
Auzqui wasn’t sure if there would be enough students in the upcoming years to merit reopening the school, as no one can foresee the future. However, he added that the school would probably need from 6 to 10 students to reopening it feasible in the next few years. The process is on-going, and at this time the future of the school is uncertain.