Mystic, Cincinnati Elementary Schools to close for good

After months of deliberation and several public hearings with the community, the Centerville school board voted Tuesday to close Mystic and Cincinnati Elementary Schools after the 2011-2012 school year.

Centerville Superintendent Tony Ryan said the district hit a "fiscal cliff" in the budget and were forced to make tough decisions. The district held three public hearings over the last few weeks to get community feedback, and the input of Centerville parents and citizens went a long way in deciding what was best for the district.

"Our board president stated it very well Tuesday night that the decision was not an easy decision," Ryan said. "We influenced and impacted an identity in each of those two outlying towns... the decision was not taken lightly. There's a grieving process the district will go through and then we will come back together and make us a stronger district going through those grieving processes and closing the buildings."

The biggest influencing factor behind the decision was enrollment trends. The Centerville School District has lost around 28 kids per year over the last 10 years, and there just isn't enough in the budget to keep the schools open.

The community has been involved in this process from the start, and they are disappointed in the outcome.

"I think it's a shame, the kids are going to lose out and they're going to be transported back and forth," Centerville resident Cathy Bailey said. "I also think the teachers and staff are going to lose their jobs and it's a shame for the community."

Another Centerville resident said her kids went to Mystic Elementary and the attention and extra-curricular opportunities available to them were unrivaled.

"The teachers really, really put a lot in with these children and the children just love them and why break them away from that?" she said. "You know, it's all about the kids."

And going forward, the superintendent's office wants the community to know that the district wants it to be all about the kids as well.

"We are going to ensure that each child in this district will get a well-rounded, quality education," Ryan said. "We are not going to fault that. We will meet the needs for the children of this district."