The Elementary Enrollment and Space Utilization Committee met at Pennsbury High School last Tuesday and decided to have Superintendent Kevin J. McHugh present a formal recommendation to close Village Park Elementary School before the school board at its Jan. 3, 2013 meeting.
Committee meeting minutes show a lengthy discussion about how much money the district could save if it closed either Village Park or Fallsington Elementary School, which is connected to the district administration offices.
Over the next five years, repairs and upgrades to the 75,000-square-foot Village Park are expected to cost up to $2 million. Similar work would cost about $375,000 at 44,000-square-foot Fallsington.
The committee discussed what would happen to the Village Park school if it were to be closed. Mothballing the Unity Drive school building or renting it out to the Bucks County Schools Intermediate Unit were talked about.
The school is made of two buildings that house "pods" for each grade level. Classrooms are without permanent walls to separate them. Bookcases, shelving units and tack boards are used to buffered the space between each class.
According to meeting minutes, a former Fallsington teacher told the committee that the "open classroom environment" was distracting when she taught a summer class at Village Park.
"When asked for support to close Village Park, 12 committee members voted in favor. Some present did not vote," district documents stated.
The committee began meeting in early Fall to discuss building space utilization and enrollment, which is at 68 percent in the district.
“I’m willing to close an elementary school if it means saving the art program,” the superintendent told the parents at a meeting in late October.