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BITBURG, Germany — Two middle schools serving the Spangdahlem Air Base community will combine in the 2005-2006 school year, educators and military officials said this week.

Pupils in the sixth through eighth grades will attend classes at Eifel West Middle School in Bitburg, while Eifel East Middle School in Spangdahlem will close, said Master Sgt. Jeff Davis, president of the Student Advisory Council serving all five Spangdahlem schools.

All fifth-grade pupils will attend Bitburg Elementary School.

Davis and other school and base officials briefly discussed the plan at an advisory council meeting Tuesday night.

Few parents attended the meeting and none commented on the consolidation plan.

An education task force originally proposed consolidating the schools in the 2004/2005 school year, but many parents balked at the idea.

Among their worries was that students living near Spangdahlem would have to travel farther to school at Bitburg, said Col. Tom Groznik, vice commander of the 52nd Fighter Wing.

The task force, made up of Kaiserslautern district officials, transportation specialists, teachers and administrators, then decided to consolidate the following year.

That will give incoming parents a chance to choose housing closer to Bitburg, which is about a 20-minute drive from Spangdahlem.

Davis said the school curriculum had suffered because of decreased enrollments and classes such as music, art and literature had been cut back.

With all children — about 500 total — attending one middle school, staffing will be adequate and funding will be secured, he said.

Some teaching or administrative positions may be lost as a result of the move.

Those Department of Defense Dependents Schools workers will be offered the chance to apply for new positions, first within the district and then within DODDS worldwide, Kaiserslautern District Superintendent Archie Bates said Tuesday.

Regardless of the consolidation, the Bitburg annex is slated to close by 2010, Groznik said.

That means a new high school will have to be built at Spangdahlem to replace the one at Bitburg.

Requests for funding a new middle school at Spangdahlem and a renovated elementary school also have been submitted for congressional approval, Groznik said.

The base also will request funding for a new hospital to replace the one at Bitburg, he said.

About 3,500 active-duty airmen are stationed at Spangdahlem, along with 8,000 family members and DOD civilians.

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