The Wyoming Valley West School District will close two elementary schools after this school year is done.
The superintendent said at a public hearing Thursday night Main Street Elementary in Plymouth and Pringle Street School in Kingston are just too old to stay open.
Friday many at the schools are sad hearing the decision is done.
Work is underway expanding State Street Elementary School in Larksville. It is where students from the two closing schools in the Wyoming Valley West School District will go next fall.
The superintendent said Main Street Elementary Center in Plymouth is closing, affecting 364 kids.
Pringle Street Elementary in Kingston is shutting down, affecting 141 kids.
“It’s really as if we’re losing a sense of family. When you’re in a small building, you know the families, you know the children you know them by their first names. We’re really going to miss it,” said head teacher Patricia Karlonis.
She has been at Pringle Street School for three decades. “I think we’re the very last remaining neighborhood school. If you look there’s a bike rack right over there, kids ride their bikes to school. Kids live right next door. Here. We’re all sad, everyone’s sad,” Karlonis added.
In Plymouth the children will also have to travel farther to school too.
Patrick Ripley is the caregiver for his brother, a student at the Main Street Elementary.
“He talks about it all the time, he loves going to school there. He likes living right down the street from the school,” Ripley said of his brother.
Both schools were built in the 1920s. The superintendent said work has to be done every summer just to make the schools safe for the school year. He said that is why they are the two closing.
“So it’s becoming a situation that each year it’s becoming a band-aid approach because of structural damage because of the building being extremely costly as far as energy is concerned,” said Superintendent Charles Suppon.
He added the $28 million expansion at State Street School in Larksville is the first major construction in the district since the 1970s.
Suppon said he does understand, though, it’s hard when neighborhood schools close.
“But I think the excitement and opportunities that will be available to those kids that weren’t available to them and to get into a new building and have opportunities. I think it’s exciting and I think the children realize it as well,” Suppon added.
The school board does have to give final approval to the school closures at a meeting in May or June, but the superintendent said this is pretty much a done deal.