Kingdom East School District Merge

GILMAN - One local middle school is facing a new future. The kingdom East School Board proposed a plan to divide up the Gilman school with other schools in the district.

This plan proposes to move the 5th grade class at Gilman to Lunenburg along with the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes to Concord.

 

Gilman school has faced many building issues after water, mold, and lead was discovered in late 2019. Since January 2021, $169,000 has gone into the building to make it fit for public use. Although the estimated 20 year cost to maintain the Gilman school as it stands would cost additionally over 3 million dollars.

Without the merger Gilman faces $175,000 of immediate facilities needs.

Lunenburg faces its own building challenges, and with the merge they would need additional classroom space for the 5th grade. Total expenses at the Lunenburg school alone  to add an aditional classroom and upkeep of school facilities will cost $520,000.

The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade merge will be a much simpler move as classroom space is already available at concord. Utilizing the third floor of the existing Concord school will make for a simple move to the new building.

"Don't look at it as somebody who is sitting in lyndonville, burke, wheelock, sutton, or concord. Look at it through the lens of lunenburg." Said Kingdom East selectboard member for the town of Lunenburg Kory Cantin, "If it was up to this community it would be overwhelmingly rejected. I'm asking as a board to look at it through the lens of lunenburg and listen to the people of lunenburg when you're making this decision."

Members at the Kingdom East School District believe this merger will provide more opportunities for students.

Sequoia, a senior at St. Johnsbury Academy and alumni of Gilman school expressed his concerns with the merge, "would it just be better to send everyone over to Concord where there aren't as many issues. As it's going to save more money. But at the same time potentially give the kids a better education and get them prepared better for high school."

If the merge happens, The Gilman school will be renovated to provide pre-K and early childhood education, along with a community event space. The board is taking public comments until they vote on a final decision in May.