Moon school board to weigh recommendation to close one school, realign others
The Moon Area School Board will consider closing Brooks Elementary School at a public hearing next Monday.
A recommendation from the administration posted online on Monday afternoon calls for closing the school and spending an estimated $25 million to expand Hyde Elementary School and renovate Allard Elementary School.
The public hearing caps nearly three months of study of elementary school operations, said Superintendent Curt Baker.
Board members and district officials who saw a need for major renovations in several aging elementary schools began weighing 13 options after the transfer of fifth-grade students to the middle school left nearly two dozen empty classrooms.
The Elementary Capital Improvement Program would limit K-4 education in the district, with a total enrollment of about 3,700 students, to Hyde, Bon Meade, McCormick and Allard elementary schools.
Board vice president Dennis Harbaugh said the price tag for renovations under the administration's proposal represents costs the district would have incurred regardless of whether it closed a school.
Baker said the price for keeping all five elementary schools was nearly $35 million.
“The board can accept it, reject it or amend it. But the purpose of the recommendation is to frame and focus the conversation from looking at a wide range of options to move toward making a decision,” Baker said, adding that the board hopes to make a final decision by June 23.
Harbaugh said he expects residents will be on hand for Monday's hearing.
“I think it's a matter of people wanting to know what we're doing, what the thought process is,” Harbaugh said.
Baker also wants authorization to research the possibility of adding full- and/or half-day preschool programs, either through Head Start, a tuition program or a partnership with Robert Morris University.
A copy of the elementary school recommendations is online at moonarea.net under the heading ECIP.
Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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