Pair Elementary in West Columbia is closing after classes end in June.
Lexington 2 school board members agreed 6-1 Thursday to shutter the 58-year-old school in a cost-cutting move.
The shutdown, estimated to save $800,000, is the first in a series of cutbacks likely to mean larger classes and fewer teachers for Cayce-West Columbia area schools.
Declining state and federal aid could force reductions totaling $3.5 million in school operations for the academic year that starts this fall, superintendent Venus Holland said.
“All of us are being called on to make sacrifices,” she said. “It’s cost-prohibitive to operate such a small school given the other challenges the district faces.”
Keith Twiggs, parent of a Pair pupil, said the closing is regrettable but understandable given the red ink forecast.
“It’s bittersweet, although I’m sure my child will adjust to the changes,” he said. “But when you look at the money, how could anybody say no?”
Students at Pair will shift mainly to nearby Davis and Taylor elementaries.
Pair will be converted into an adult education center, a change expected to trim about 20 jobs from the ranks of Lexington 2’s 1,200 teachers and staffers.
It’s unclear how many teachers will be laid off, with school officials saying that won’t be known until summer.
Holland hopes to accomplish the job cuts by relying on retirements and departures.
Pair’s enrollment of 275 students is the smallest among 16 schools in Lexington 2. Only board member Glen Conwell opposed the shutdown.
Merging two other elementary schools also was looked at but wasn’t workable, Holland said.
Other steps coming likely will be as unpopular as closing Pair is.
Possibilities that Holland said are under review include five furlough days for teachers and most staffers as well as “deep” layoffs that could force schools to share counselors, nurses, fine arts teachers and other staffers.