Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McRae Opens Doors to Out-of-County Students

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McRae Opens Doors to Out-of-County Students

Article excerpt

Clay County is putting out the welcome mat for out-of-county

students to attend McRae Elementary School. And the grand prize

for enrolling is a trip to Keystone Heights Junior-Senior High

School.

McRae has been plagued with inadequate enrollment since it

opened two years ago. School officials are hoping that by

cutting off out-of-county attendance at nearby Keystone Heights

Elementary School and allowing McRae students to attend Keystone

Heights Junior-Senior High School, the enrollment figures will

increase.

"We're not in the business of running schools in the red," said

Deputy Superintendent Ben Wortham. "We have to get it

[enrollment] up to make it financially affordable to keep it

open."

Wortham said it is a matter of efficiency. Since most of the

funding for the day-to-day operation of a school is based on

state revenue generated by student population, McRae has not

been able to support the administrative and resource costs that

all schools face.

To boost student population and increase the school's revenue,

McRae will accept students from Putnam, Bradford and Alachua

counties beginning in August.

Wortham said McRae, which is a few miles from the Putnam County

Line, has 450 students, while 600 students would be the

break-even point and "750 students would be ideal."

Keystone Heights Elementary, a few miles from the Bradford

County line, has been a popular choice of Bradford County

parents living in the area who otherwise must send their

children 12 to 15 miles away to schools in Starke.

Although Keystone Elementary was closed to non-county students

years ago when overcrowding became a major issue, Principal Mary

Mimbs said a recent review found 40 students from out of the

county or from McRae's attendance zone were enrolled at

Keystone.

Mimbs said a lid will be kept on attendance of non-county

students at Keystone Elementary now since that school is

experiencing overcrowding, something that was hoped to be

minimized when McRae opened.

Mimbs said "500 students would be ideal" at Keystone. …

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