Jersey Shore School Administrators Pitch School Closures

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JERSEY SHORE -- A school district in Lycoming County is calling for the closure of some elementary schools in an effort to save money.

Administrators at Jersey Shore Area School District said they have no other options but to consolidate students at one elementary school.

Three elementary schools in the Jersey Shore Area School District could be closed permanently by the 2014 - 2015 school year in an effort to save money.

At a school board meeting at the high school Monday night, school administrators laid out their plan to eventually close Avis, Nippenose and Salladasburg Elementary Schools, which are located outside of Jersey Shore.

The proposal first calls for Jersey Shore Elementary to be renovated starting this year.

Once that is complete, then students in the outlying elementary schools would then attend class at Jersey Shore Elementary.

Grade structure at the existing schools would shift, with kindergarten through third attending Jersey Shore Elementary, fourth through seventh at the intermediate school and eight through 12 going to the high school.

Many parents don’t like this idea.

“The fourth and fifth grade moving to the middle school, it’s just, it’s too young to have them around everything that they’ll be exposed to,” said Lauren Coch of Limestone Township.

But the district said its hands are now tied with enrollment down at the elementary schools and 50 percent of classroom space not being used. Funding from the state is down but costs continue to rise.

This fight has been raised by the administration and people fear the district is going to do whatever it wants.

“It’s re-hashed over and over again and now they’re getting down to the point where they’re just going to go ahead,” said Burt Francis.

School administrators said they’ve asked the board to have a decision on the proposal by the end of the month.

Officials hope a decision is made at the board’s next meeting.