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Cornell residents favorable toward merger with Moon Area

| Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 10:36 p.m.

Some Cornell School District residents told the school board on Monday night that they believe students will have more academic and athletic opportunities if the district merges with Moon Area.

Many of the roughly 50 residents who attended the board workshop meeting are in favor of a merger, which they believe could attract families to buy homes in Coraopolis. The district also serves families in Neville.

It was the first time the school board has met since Moon Area's board made the surprise move in June to authorize its superintendent to approach Cornell about merging.

“Our children will get more opportunities for education,” said Coraopolis resident Eric Krauza, 38, who has two sons, 2 and 5.

He and others implored board members to keep open minds, even though a proposed merger between the districts failed about 15 years ago.

Board President Jeffrey McBain said Moon Area's proposal was unprofessional because Cornell was not contacted in advance.

The other five members in attendance did not share their opinions.

McBain said he did not appreciate Moon Area using Cornell as a political pawn during a battle over closing one of its schools.

During a contentious 6½-hour meeting on June 26, board Treasurer Laura Schisler brought up the idea of a merger.

The Moon Area board voted to close Hyde Elementary School, renovate Allard and Brooks elementary schools by the start of the 2015-16 year, and authorize Superintendent Curt Baker to approach Cornell about a potential merger.

“We are open to discussions, obviously, with Moon Township. Our next step is to again have our superintendent talk to Moon's superintendent to lay out a more detailed plan as to how we go forward,” McBain said.

Last school year, Moon Area had 3,723 students from Moon and Crescent enrolled in seven schools, while Cornell had 646 students in two schools that share a building.

Coraopolis resident Christie Czepiel, 38, said she objects to Cornell being characterized as not having enough to offer academically.

“You get out of it what you put into it,” said Czepiel, whose two daughters, 12 and 14, will be taking honors classes in Cornell in the coming school year.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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