Lawton board votes to close 4 elementary schools

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LAWTON, Okla. (AP) — Lawton school officials have voted to shutter four schools and require that all elementary students wear uniforms.

B.C. Swinney, Brockland, Park Lane and Wilson elementary schools will be closed after classes end this week. Lawton school board president Helena John said it marked the beginning of a "sad" but necessary process.

The board said the decision is an effort to save money, following overall shrinking enrollment in the district which has lost more than 1,600 elementary students in the last decade. Board members say the district didn't have to lay off teachers from the impending school closures.

Superintendent Tom Deighan said he's identified around $838,000 in savings for the district in the next year. The schools' closure is projected to save the district more than $1.6 million by the time the 2016-17 academic year ends. The district could see savings close to $5 million in four years from closing the schools.

The board also voted Tuesday to expand its policy on school uniforms to include all elementary schools. Only five elementary schools had required the uniforms, and Deighan said it would be best to establish uniformity.

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