ShareThis Page

Tensions run high as Moon Area ponders school buildings' futures

| Wednesday, June 18, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Tensions are running high in Moon Area School District, whose nine-member board is slated to vote on closing Brooks Elementary School, renovating two other schools and reconfiguring elementary grades on Wednesday.

In three months of study of elementary school operations, the district's administration in March recommended that the school board close Brooks Elementary School as part of a capital improvement plan.

The district would spend $25 million to expand Hyde Elementary to the size of another building, Bon Meade Elementary, and renovate Allard Elementary.

Moon Area has five elementary schools.

There is excess classroom space because the transfer of fifth-graders to the middle school in 2012 left nearly two dozen empty classrooms, the district has said.

Proposed is a reconfiguration of grades so that Bon Meade and Hyde would accommodate only kindergarten through second-graders, and Allard and McCormick would house third- and fourth-graders.

Opponents argue the changes, if approved, would result in longer bus rides for children, siblings going to different elementary schools, and increased property taxes but reduced property values.

“I just think that there's a lot more information that needs to be gleaned before closing any school. And I'm not entirely convinced that our board has done due diligence,” said Moon resident Noah Eger, 44, the father of a 2-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy who live in the Brooks attendance area.

Board member Jerry Testa said he plans to vote against the capital plan and grade reconfiguration.

“There is no educational benefit for the children,” he said Tuesday.

Michael A. Hauser has said he would not vote in favor of the plan. Scott E. LaRue and A. Michael Olszewski, the board president, said they had not decided how to vote.

“We actually have eight more days to deliberate, and I sense that the deliberations will take that long,” Olszewski said.

Other school board members could not be reached for comment. Wednesday's meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. in the auxiliary gym of Moon Area High School.

Tory N. Parrish is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-5662 or

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.