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Greenbush Middle River district votes to close Middle River School

MIDDLE RIVER, Minn. -- A rural school will close this summer after serving a small Marshall County community for nearly 70 years.

The Greenbush Middle River School Board voted 5-2 Monday night, May 8, to close the Middle River School by the end of the school year in June. The last day of classes is May 24, and all of next year’s students will attend school in Greenbush, Minn.

Years of discussion have led to Monday’s decision, District Superintendent Tom Jerome said. He pointed to the district’s student numbers, which have been nearly cut in half in the last 20 years -- from 608 student in 1997 to 318 children this year, according to school administration.

On top of that, the district is projected to have a deficit of almost $520,000. Closing the Middle River School would save the district more than $400,000 in operating costs, Jerome said.

“The district has a responsibility to manage the funds that they have,” he said, adding that its mission is to provide the best quality education for all of its children.

The district hasn’t decided what will happen to the building after the school closes, Jerome said.

Middle River is located about 20 miles north of Thief River Falls.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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