Grantsdale Elementary Closes Doors After 124 Years - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Grantsdale Elementary Closes Doors After 124 Years

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HAMILTON -

After 124 years, Grantsdale Elementary must shut down.

The school lies just outside of city limits, but within the Hamilton School District, and next school year, the district was facing a $371,000 budget shortfall.

School officials said the district will save about $120,000 annually, by consolidating Hamilton elementary schools.

Principal Kathleen Dent has worked in the Hamilton school district for 15 years, and has served as Grantsdale principal for the past seven.

Dent said, "Logically, I think we understand it and you know, things change, it's kind of the sign of the times, so we get that, but still, it's a tough ending… it really is."

She said 80% of their funding comes from the state, but the other 20% comes from local voters who have failed to pass almost every levy for Grantsdale.

"So, we're dealing with a lot less of a budget to do the same kind of education, and something has to go and unfortunately this was the decision this year," Dent said.

Dent said Grantsdale has four classes, grades 2-5, with between 20-24 kids per class.

Those students will transfer to Daly Elementary in Hamilton, or graduate to middle school.

Many said they'll miss their small school on a rural five acres.

Karen Daniels has taught 2nd grade for seven years total at Grantsdale. She and the other five teachers at Grantsdale will transfer to either Washington or Daly Elementary.

"Usually when I'm at home or driving down Grantsdale Road, it hits…. and I'm like, we're losing something very special," Daniels said.

And some students even have strong, family ties to the historic school. Second grader, Justin, said his father and grandpa both went to Grantsdale.

"They said to me, it was a good school, good things, and it was really close by and we all went to Grantsdale, so that's where you're going to go," Justin said.

"I just really want to emphasize tomorrow, to the kids that's it's an ending of one thing, but it's the beginning of a great rest of their lives," Dent added.

Officials said the school board plans to sell the Grantsdale school property in the future.

Wednesday was the final day of classes at Grantsdale, but the school will host a community potluck Thursday at noon, followed by a concert performed by students.

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