It was a surprise decision for the Jersey Shore Area School District.
At a school board meeting Monday night, the board had been weighing whether to close one of two elementary schools but that vote ended a much different way.
The school district had felt that in a cost-saving effort, either Avis Elementary or Nippenose Elementary should be closed, but the board went with its third option, to keep both open at this time.
The room at Jersey Shore Area Middle School erupted in cheers as the school board narrowly voted 5 to 4 to keep both Avis Elementary and Nippenose Elementary open for the foreseeable future.
The vote came after a night of pleading from parents.
“Nippenose is not my school,” said one parent. “It’s my son’s school, Joe. It’s my daughter`s school, Grace.”
In an effort to save money the district had given the board the option of closing either Avis Elementary or Nippenose Elementary.
The board chose the third option it had, to close neither school at this time.
It was an emotional night leading up to the vote; from an outburst from a grandparent directed to the board president,
“He`s been biased in his opinion on this from day one,” said Burt Francis. “He wants to close the school.”
To a parent presenting the U.S. Constitution to the board.
“The Constitution of the United States is ‘We The People’ and we the people is out here,” said parent Carl Larson. “And we the people want these schools open.”
The district had said a school closure was motivated by falling enrollment and would help fund the multimillion dollar plan to renovation Jersey Shore Area Elementary School.
Parents at Jersey Shore said the school needs upgrades.
“Jersey Shore Elementary does really need renovating, which I`m sure everybody knows,” said one mother. “I mean, they were evacuated last week because of the heating issue.”
Still some taxpayers said the district should be doing more cutting.
“This spending is has just gotten way out of hand,” said George Shroat.
Other parents realized that the district needs money and it will have to come from someplace.
“I would rather close a school then see headlines, like in last week’s paper, where it says ‘teacher reductions’,” said one father.
The superintendent said the district still needs to make budget for next year and pay for the Jersey Shore Area Elementary renovation project.
Now programs cuts and a tax increase could certainly be possibilities in order to make budget.