SWIFTWATER — Two schools in the Poconos are closing: Barrett Elementary Center and Pocono Elementary Center in the Pocono Mountain School District.
The school board voted to close those schools Wednesday night and some parents are upset they’re losing their community schools.
Catherine Head has a first grader and a fifth grader attending Barrett Elementary Center in Mountainhome. She works at a convenience store right down the road. At the end of the school year, that school is shutting down.
“I’m really sad. It’s not often you get a small community school anymore.”
A spokesperson with the Pocono Mountain School District says the board voted to close Barrett Elementary Center and also voted to shut down Pocono Elementary Center near Tannersville.
“I’m surprised at Pocono. I think I’m a little disappointed in that. My children went to school there,” said Linda Starner of Kunkletown.
The district blames the closings largely on dwindling enrollment. By closing both buildings, the district expects to save nearly $2 million.
But for Catherine Head, it’s not worth it.
“All the parents know each other. We know each other’s kids, we look out for each other and it’s just not going to be anymore. “
Linda Starner who owns the convenience store down the road from Barrett believes her business will be affected.
“We have teachers come in for coffee and gas, and the deli.”
Students from Pocono and Barrett Elementary Centers will be attending Swiftwater Elementary Center next school year starting in September. The grades will be kindergarten through third grade.
Students in fourth through sixth grade will go to Swiftwater Intermediate School.
The school buildings are minutes away from each other on the campus of Pocono Mountain East High School.
Head says that’s still too far. Come September, her children will be in different buildings instead of the same one.
“It’s nice to know you have an older kid with your younger kid and he looks out for her. Now they’re really spread apart.”