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Monroeville

Gateway administrators present plans for district reorganization

Emily Balser
| Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, 9:03 p.m.

The Gateway school district administration presented its plans Wednesday for district reorganization.

The first option would move students from Gateway Middle School to the high school, sell the middle school and use the proceeds to renovate Mosside Middle School. First-year savings were projected to be $155,380.

The second option would do everything in the first option and also close Ramsey Elementary School, moving fourth grade students into Mosside and all other students into the remaining elementary schools. First-year savings were projected to be $778,841.

The third option would close Mosside Middle School, moving fifth graders into the elementary schools and sixth grade to Gateway Middle School. First-year savings were projected to be $1,009,247.

Superintendent Nina Zetty said the reason for considering such changes is a decline in enrollment.

Enrollment data provided by the board show a decrease of nearly 1,000 students, or 25 percent, during the past 15 years. Enrollment went from 4,334 students in 1999-2000 to 3,411 students in 2014-15.

The school board heard suggestions Monday from program management company Thomas & Williamson on how the district could reconfigure to possibly downsize and maximize its facilities.

Suggestions made by Thomas & Williamson include going to what's called a “Princeton Plan” of having only four schools. The schools would be kindergarten through second grade, third grade through fifth grade, sixth grade through eighth grade and ninth through 12th grade.

“It brings every kid together in kindergarten and keeps them together,” said John Thomas, with Thomas & Williamson.

Thomas said the district will have to look at the age and cost of repairs to existing schools, the population projections and staffing. He suggested the board study the options for the next year and present the plan to the public in February 2017. On that timeline, the vote to close a school would be in May 2017, so everything would be ready for the 2017-18 school year.

The cost of going with Thomas & Williamson for the project consulting would be $125,000, which Zetty said would come out of the general fund.

Emily Balser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-871-2369 or ebalser@tribweb.com.

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