More Possible School Closings at Pocono Mountain

SWIFTWATER — More changes could be coming soon to the Pocono Mountain School District.

District officials are now considering closing two more elementary schools, and reopening an intermediate school in the district.

Administrators presented the proposal to the school board and public Wednesday night.

It’s a trend some folks who live in Monroe County say is all to common.

Several more schools in the district possibly shutting down, moving kids from school to school, having empty buildings, all the while taxpayers foot the bill.

“It seemed like it exploded, they just kept building the schools bigger and adding on and now all of a sudden everybody’s leaving, but we’re still stuck with the school tax bill, so I don’t know what the deal is,” says Terry Brink of Barrett Township.

Part of the deal for the proposed changes is declining enrollment.

In fact, since 2010 Pocono Mountain School officials say the district lost almost 900 students in K through 12 grades. And they project another decline of almost 450 students for the 2013 school year. Several schools were shut down in the district in 2012.

Officials say the plan would include closing Barrett Elementary Center and Pocono Elementary Center and reopening Swiftwater Intermediate School. The proposal says that would use the schools at full capacity.

Students in kindergarten through third grade would go to Swiftwater Elementary. And grades four through six would go to Swiftwater Intermediate.

Folks say it’s a shame more and more people are leaving the Poconos.

“I’ve been here 18 years, yeah it’s terrible, to see everything going downhill, jobs lost and everything, businesses moving, and it just falls down hill on everybody else,” says Dennis Beaver of Barrett Township.

Pocono Mountain School District released a statement, it reads in part.

“Pocono Mountain school district has experienced a declining enrollment for several years. The administration will analyze student enrollment, building capacity and other factors to provide all students in the district with a high quality education in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. No decision has been made at this time on whether or not the schools will close.”

A public hearing on the proposal to close schools is scheduled for Monday, February 25.

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