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Valley Tuesday takes

Merging/closing schools: The Armstrong School Board will face major opposition with its plan to merge Kittanning and Ford City high schools into one new school and close Elderton Junior-Senior High School. The board got stuck with an $80 million bond issue thanks to the previous board and plan to spend $55 million on the new school. Closing these schools will provide some savings to offset the cost of the new construction.

Hello, 911?: Three outages in two weeks of Westmoreland County's 911 dispatch system are troublesome. But officials are confident that a failed telecommunications computer card, linked to the last two outages, was the culprit; it's been replaced. And the outages have not affected emergency services. Bottom line: The emergency-dispatching system persevered. Perhaps the outages were instructional. But we trust the lessons are over.

Deterring public corruption: Some state legislators and political scientists say vigorous prosecution and stiff prison sentences help prevent further politicking on the public dime by lawmakers and aides. Hopefully, that's true. But only when prosecutors can't find any such cases -- for a long, long time -- will that deterrent effect be proven in our State of Corruption.

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