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Rural Wisconsin community braces for 3 school closures

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ANTIGO, Wis. — A small, rural district in northern Wisconsin is the latest to close schools as many grapple with declining enrollment.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that the Unified School District of Antigo is closing Pleasant View Elementary School and two other elementary schools in an effort to consolidate school buildings and realign grade levels.

The Antigo district population declined from 2,578 in 2008, to 2,331 this year. The drop has presented financial challenges for district officials.

It’s a trend rural districts statewide are struggling to manage. In central Wisconsin, Merrill and Wisconsin Rapids’ districts have closed elementary schools in recent years.

Pleasant View Principal Colleen Berkhahn says it’s difficult to see schools close because they’re more than just brick and mortar. Berkhahn says schools become a community and family within themselves.

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