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December 14, 2013

TCAPS could close Interlochen Elementary

TRAVERSE CITY — Interlochen Elementary School’s days might be numbered.

Traverse City Area Public Schools officials are considering closing the school as they regroup in the wake of voters’ most recent rejection of the district’s capital projects millage.

The news came as a surprise to Green Lake Township Trustee Marvin Radtke, who said township residents won’t be happy when they learn of those discussions.

“A lot of them are going to go tilt,” Radtke said. “They’ll think it’s going to be out of spite.”

The elementary school’s future came to the forefront at a school board finance committee meeting about a month after board member Megan Crandall floated the idea of carving townships in the TCAPS district along lines that either strongly favored or rejected TCAPS most recent millage increase request.

Green Lake Township voters rejected TCAPS millage proposals by nearly 3-to-2 margins in the last two elections.

Board President Kelly Hall said discussions about closing Interlochen aren’t related to votes cast in Green Lake Township. She also said the majority of TCAPS board members do not support Crandall’s comments in the wake of the millage defeat.

“That was an unfortunate discussion and the comments about shedding outlying areas of the district don’t reflect the thoughts of the majority of the board,” Hall said. “This in no way is a retaliation against anyone.”

But Crandall stands by her words. Board members need to look at the size and makeup of the district given TCAPS strained capital fund budget and how different parts of the district have weighed in on millage requests, she said. Closing Interlochen Elementary also makes sense if the alternative requires sinking big money into repairs for a building that should be demolished.

“To spend that money on a building that by all indications won’t be usable for long seems like a huge waste of taxpayer money,” Crandall said.

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