The West Chester School Board Property and Finance Committee discussed the impact closing one of the district’s 10 elementary schools would have on the community Monday.
“We need to ask ourselves if this something we feel is good for the kids of the district,” said school board member Sean Carpenter. “And if its not, then that and that alone should be the reason we don’t close a school.”
The school district is exploring closing one of the elementary schools as a way to save approximately $1.3 million.
This is an emotional issue for a lot of people,” said district superintendent Dr. Jim Scanlon. “We also need to explore other ways we could save the district money.”
Last year, as part of the Community Budget Task Force, a committee of district parents and residents suggested that one of the way the district could save money is by consolidating space and possibly closing one school.
The committee suggested four schools that could be closed with the least amount of impact: East Bradford, Fern Hill, Glen Acres and Mary C. Howse.
Dr. Scanlon made it clear Monday that the school board is merely exploring the possibility of closing a school, and that if a school should be closed it would not be until the 2016-17 school year.
Dr. Scanlon also added that the school district lines that determine which students go to which schools must be redrawn anyway. He added that if the district doesn’t close a school those changes would go into effect in 2015.
The Property and Finance Committee also released a schedule of meetings where the school closing will be discussed.
- Oct. 31 - Data collection sent to the space consolidation committee
- Nov. 7 - Space Consolidation Committee makes any changes to data, writes new impact statement based on new data.
- Nov. 19 - Update provided to Property and Finance Committee
- Nov. 26 - Formal data presented to the entire school board
- Dec. 17 - Board makes decision about space consolidation (whether or not to close a school)
“As a parent I wouldn’t want my child’s school to be closed,” said school board member Ed Coyle. “If we go through with this we’ll have a million parents from that school in here, and they have the right for their opinions to be considered.