Superintendent Kevin J. McHugh told parents gathered at a town hall meeting at Falls Township’s Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary School that Pennsbury is planning to redistrict.
The district says a “broad-based” committee has begun meeting to discuss building space utilization and enrollment, which is at 68 percent in the district.
McHugh said closing one of the district’s lesser used elementary schools is a possibility. One closed school could save the district about $1 million.
Despite rumors, the district does not know what school may be closed, McHugh told Patch.
“Penn Valley was at 42 percent of its capacity last year,” McHugh said. He added that some schools did not have enough room for students and redistricting would help reduce the burden on certain schools.
“I’m willing to close an elementary school if it means saving the art program,” the superintendent told the parents.
The new committee is expected to present McHugh with a recommendation report in the first weeks of 2013. From there, the school board and district will help decide which school to close.
The last time redistricting happened was in the early part of the 2000s, McHugh said.
If a school is closed, the district, McHugh told the crowd, would have to determine whether to rent, sell, repurpose or mothball the structure. The fate of the staff is also unknown.
The superintendent took time during the meeting to praise the work of the district’s teachers, who have working without a contract for 2 years.
Assistant Superintendent Donna Dunar and McHugh both spoke of how the district is working to improve the educational experience for students. Several new programs are in place to help students who struggle in a traditional classroom environment.
A community member raised concerns about the quality of the food the district’s cafeterias. The man asked whether the cash-strapped district could purchase more food from local farms. McHugh advised the man to talk to the food service supervisor.
Pennwood Middle School sixth-grader Melanie Nolan respectfully asked McHugh whether the district, which is working to be “green” friendly, could stop using disposable Styrofoam lunch trays. She said the trays are not good for the environment. The superintendent said he would mention the topic at the next school board meeting.
A another town hall-style meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2013 at Pennwood Middle School in Lower Makefield Township. A third meeting will be held at at 7:30 p.m. on March 26, 2013, at Walt Disney Elementary School in Tullytown Borough.