LONG CREEK - Like many school districts in the state, Long Creek is facing a financial crisis.

Dwindling enrollment, a dorm program that isn't generating the money it was expected to and an overall lack of state and local funding has resulted in a situation where the small community in central Grant County may not have a high school when classes start in the fall.

A community forum was held Jan. 28 and a crowd of approximately 35 local residents met with school officials, teachers, students and members of the school board to discuss the situation.

The basic problem is the school simply does not have the necessary money. Input from the public was received on what they wanted done.

There has been some confusion as to exactly how much money the dorm was bringing in, said Lisa Swanson, a school board member.

"There was some misinterpretation of how the funding was handled and we discovered the dorm does actually operate at a loss," Swanson said. "We discussed whether we wanted to keep the dorm or whether it was something we wanted to do away with."

Long Creek has an eight-student dorm that this school year has seven foreign exchange students residing in it.

Questions were raised as to whether the dorm program should continue next year and if discontinued, what affect would it have on school enrollment.

"If we close the dorm, that would leave us with about 10 students in the high school," Swanson said.

One solution would be to contract high school students to either Grant Union or Monument, or both, and keep the school open as an elementary and middle school.

The possibility of sharing a superintendent of schools and a deputy clerk was discussed.

"I felt the general consensus of the people attending the forum was they wanted to try and keep the school open for students in grades K-12, if at all possible," Swanson said.

No decision was made at the meeting.

"This was the first meeting we had with the public," Swanson said. "It was something the board discussed and we decided before we made any decision, we needed to take it to the community and find out what parents wanted for their kids."

The Long Creek School Board was scheduled to meet Feb. 14.

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