Stroudsburg School District considers shutting down two elementary schools

BY VERONES PADILLA

SC Staff Writer

Stroudsburg School District announced that it is considering closing elementary schools in order to cut costs.

Rumors have swirled that either or both of these schools were on the district’s chopping block for more than three years.

According to Superintendent John Toleno during a public hearing last Wednesday, closing both Ramsey and Clearview elementary schools in the Stroudsburg School District would save an estimated $659,000 a year. Over 300 students would be affected by the closures.

The figures provided are in the case the district retains ownership of the buildings, and responsibility for the costs of maintaining them.

Closing both schools would also cause a reduction in staff but no details of which positions were disclosed.

Deficit problems are being blamed on declining enrollment numbers but some disagree with the Board.

“All these schools were open 10 years ago with lower numbers than they have now,” said Dr. Cem Zeytinoglu, of the ESU Communication Studies department.

Local residents and parents of children who attend the two schools slated for closing are banding together, creating petitions and pushing for investigation on several fronts.

Some are questioning the conditions of the air quality of the intermediate school, citing allegations of mold problems within the building. Others are pushing for investigations into the superintendent’s use of district funds.

Those who oppose the school closing cite a study conducted by the Center for the Study of Education Policy of Illinois State University.

The study proposes that larger schools may disproportionately disenfranchise low-income and minority students.  According to the study, an increase in the size of an elementary school also significantly lowers student achievement.

The cost saving efforts are part of a “consolidation” trend in elementary schools.  According to a report from the Pocono Record, if both schools would close, children in Kindergarten and first grades would be divided among Hamilton, Morey and Arlington elementary schools.

All students in grades two to three would enroll in an “intermediate elementary school.” Grades four through seven would go to the middle school, grades eight and nine would enroll in the junior high school and grades ten through twelve would go a new high school.

The district must wait the state mandated 90 days before making any final decisions, giving residents and parents time to investigate and file appeals.

Email Verones at:

vpadilla@live.esu.edu

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