UPDATE: Harlem School District vote to merge campuses

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Updated February 12, 2018, 10:09 p.m.

UPDATED: MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - The Harlem school board gives the go-ahead for the merger of two of its campuses.

The board voted Monday night to combine the high school and ninth grade campuses. A recent enrollment projection study showed a decline of 1,000 students over the next ten years.

Proponents say the move will enhance students' educational experience and give educators more flexibility with courses.

The board must now decide on what to do with the ninth grade building schools officials say they want to keep the ninth grade campus operational, but don't have plans for the building as of yet.

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Posted January 29, 2018, 9:41 p.m.

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (WIFR) - Declining enrollment pushes one area school district toward merging two of its campuses for the 2019-2020 school year.

The Harlem School Board was presented with recommendations for combining Harlem High School and ninth-grade campuses. This comes after a recent enrollment projection study showed a continued decline of 1,000 students over the next 10 years. Officials believe the merger will enhance students' educational experience.

"I think the people that have taken the time to read the recommendation, they see that this really is going to be an improved thing for our students and really provide them some opportunities to have some extra electives that they didn't have currently as freshman. To allow us to have a little bit more flexibility with our course sequencing, for students," said Jason Blume, Harlem School District director of stakeholder engagement.

The school board still needs to decide on what to do with ninth grade campus building if the closure is approved. The board will make a final decision at its next meeting on Feb. 12.