Parents asking Colon to reopen Leonidas school

A decision last summer to close Leonidas School could cost Colon Community Schools a significant loss in student population.

The district closed the K-8 building prior to the start of the current school year after enrollment dipped under 40 students. But a parent and spokesman for the Amish families told Colon’s board of education Monday they plan to take their children out of the district during winter break if the board doesn’t change course on Leonidas School.

District officials, meanwhile, said they are willing to work with the Amish community to develop a plan that would keep their children in Colon Community Schools.

Lee Eicher was one of more than a dozen Amish present Monday. He said Colon Elementary is not an ideal alternative for those who previously attended Leonidas School.

The former Leonidas students are bussed to Colon Elementary and assigned to two classrooms, where K-6 classes are taught in the building’s upstairs portion.

Eicher said unlike Leonidas School, Colon Elementary simply is not designed to respect and honor the Amish culture.

Board president Deb Bordner conceded closing Leonidas School for the 2021-22 academic year was not an easy decision, nor was it an option made in haste. Bordner said it costs about $225,000 a year to keep Leonidas School in operation. All things considered, it might take close to 50 students to justify keeping the school open.

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