Important Conclusions about the Impact on the Remaining Buildings

Posted: December 17, 2012 in The Impact
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“If we close an elementary school, change will be felt throughout the system,” said Dr. Brian Miller, Assistant Superintendent for K-12 education. “If you remove a small school from our system, the entire system will be affected.” [PG Article, October 25, 2012.]

The information included on the Administration’s November 28th slides (detailed in recent posts) provides the basis for the following conclusions:

  1. Under the new model, the remaining buildings will see an increase in class size across several grade levels (especially grades 3-5).
  2. Under the new model, the remaining buildings will see an increase in sections across several grade levels (the only way to hold class sizes below district guidelines is by regularly operating spare classrooms as regular classrooms).
  3. Under the new model, the use of spare classrooms as regular classrooms makes the remaining buildings dependent on non-classrooms as spare classrooms.
  4. The use of non-classrooms as spare classrooms would displace programs integral to the elementary curriculum that are currently operating in those spaces (e.g. learning support, music, GOAL).
  5. Increase in class size and increase in sections means the remaining buildings will be operating above their Pennsylvania Department of Education target capacity and dangerously close to gross capacity.

We believe that the 5 points listed above compromise the district’s ability to deliver the same level of excellence in education under the new model that it does now.

Further, the Administration’s slides illustrate that the new model cannot reasonably accommodate an increase in student enrollment. If the district grows, it could face spending more money than it saved from closing a building.

  1. Dan Hamm says:

    Most of your focus is to address how this will impact the kids and the schools. There are many in our area who have no one in the schools and are only looking at the tax issues. If the school stays open, how does this effect the taxpayers of the area?,

    • SaveNAschools understands that not all community members have children in the school district. We also understand that residents expect the school board to make fiscally responsible decisions. The district is projecting a $6M-$10M deficit for the current year. Based on the Nov 28th presentation by the Administration, closing Peebles would save the district $850,000/year (contingent on a $1million/year lease). Thus, the cost savings from closing Peebles represents less than 1% of the district’s annual operating budget ($126 million).

      The larger impact may be the perceived decline in the district as a whole. Residents of the community realize that the single biggest contributor to home values is the reputation of the school district. If the remaining elementary school buildings are required to operate near gross capacity guidelines, students are in non-classrooms for direct instruction, and class sizes increase, housing values may be negatively impacted.

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