Two Hanau, Germany-area elementary schools are scheduled to be closed under a proposal announced Monday by Department of Defense Dependents Schools in Europe.
Gelnhausen and Sportfield elementary schools would close at the end of the school year. Those pupils next school year would attend Argonner Elementary School on Old Argonner Casern in Hanau. In addition, Hanau High School and Hanau Middle School, next to each other on New Argonner Casern, would be combined next year into one school serving pupils in grades 6-12.
The closures, which must be approved by the Department of Defense Education Activity, are being proposed because of an upcoming reduction of forces in the area planned by U.S. Army Europe.
“Traditionally, DODEA accepts the proposals because they are well thought-out and justified before we go forward with the request,” said Dennis Bohannon, a DODDS-Europe spokesman.
Fewer students would mean fewer teachers, and hence fewer programs, Bohannon said.
“By combining, we can assure that the right teachers are teaching the right classes for the age groups of children,”
Bohannon would not speculate on when a decision by DODEA would come.
If approved, the moves would require children from Gelnhausen and Sportfield to be bused to Argonner Elementary School. The trip would be about 16 miles, or 30-45 minutes, for Gelnhausen pupils, and about 1½ miles for Sportfield pupils.
The moves were announced after a meeting Monday of Hanau’s Installation Advisory Committee and military and community leaders.
Town hall meetings have been scheduled for parents affected by the proposed changes. The meetings will be:
- 6 p.m. Thursday for Hanau High School and Hanau Middle School, in the middle school gym.
- 12:30 p.m. Friday for Gelnhausen Elementary School in the school’s lunchroom.
- 6 p.m. March 6 for Sportfield Elementary School in the school’s gym.
- 6 p.m. March 9 for Argonner Elementary School in the school’s cafeteria.
“Some parents might be concerned if their children are being bused from one location to another. We’ll talk about busing times, safety precautions that will be put into place, things like this,” Bohannon said.
Last month, USAREUR announced a force reshuffling for later this year in which about 7,200 military positions and 11,000 family members would be affected, with about 4,800 positions being moved to the U.S. or elsewhere, and 2,400 being reassigned within Europe.
Many of the affected units are located in the Hanau area, as well as in Babenhausen. Bohannon said an announcement affecting Babenhausen Elementary School would be made at a later date.