Before the Pennsbury School Board, administrators and members of the local community, Marta Grothman recalled her fond memories of attending Village Park Elementary School in the Levittown section of Falls.
She recollected about her first day and taking part in the school’s opening ceremony. She recalled her brown pigtail hairstyle and all of her teachers.
Grothman, who currently is a music instructor at the school, was one of roughly a dozen people who spoke during public comment at Thursday night’s public hearing on the likely closure of the Unity Drive school.
Other parents testified about the helpful and nurturing staff. Some praised the close-knit community that surrounds the school, where a large segments of students walk to and from.
When Arlene Smith’s child began attended Village Park, she was most concerned about the open learning environment the school features.
“I want to thank those teachers for the gift they gave my child of developing life skills and providing education for the real world,” she told the board.
Parent Ettie Petroski said the open learning classroom design was a benefit to students and gives them the opportunity comparable to working in a fast-paced office environment.
Superintendent Dr. Kevin McHugh told the gathered crowd of about 200 that closing the school would save the district $892,216 in personnel costs and a minimum of $100,000 in utility costs.
Over the next 5 years, McHugh said, the district is expected to save $6.4 million if Village Park is closed.
He said the decision to close the school was made by Elementary Enrollment and Space Utilization Committee based on costs and enrollment numbers.
Village Park employees about 30 staff members. Most of their jobs are expected to be reduced through attrition, district officials said.
Ahead of the meeting, a group of Pennsbury teachers protested the closure outside the Pennsbury High School campus.
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