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Plum School District reconfiguration options to be narrowed down at committee meeting

Michael DiVittorio
| Friday, March 2, 2018, 3:24 p.m.
Plum School District.
Plum School District.

Plum School District officials plan to narrow down their choices for redistricting and shifting students for next school year at an education committee meeting.

It is slated for 6 p.m. March 6 at the high school.

Board members will discuss options outlined by Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials.

All choices include closing Regency Park Elementary School. Other possible decisions include:

• Redistricting among the three other elementary schools.

• Moving Regency students to Center, sixth grade to Oblock Junior High and eighth grade to the high school.

• Cutting full-day kindergarten to half-day and redistricting other students throughout the elementaries.

• Cutting full-day kindergarten to half-day and creating two K-4 schools and one 5-6 school out of the elementaries.

• Moving Regency students to Center and sixth grade to Oblock.

• Adding on to Center Elementary and moving Regency students there.

Acting Superintendent Gail Yamnitzky will have a presentation of the pros and cons of each option. District Business Manager John Zahorchak will highlight the cost of each move.

“Our hope is that the board will have a complete and full picture,” Yamnitzky said. “Administration will also let the board know, from an educational perspective, which ones they would offer the most support for.”

Board members have routinely put off making major decisions, such as where to put 250 students after closing their school, for months so they can gather more information on the subject.

Zahorchak said that may no longer be an option after the committee meeting.

“There's no more information that we'll have to give,” he said. “ It's going to be the report that will lead to all the decisions and show what's best academically and most advantageous financially.”

A vote on the choices could take place at the March 27 board meeting.

School Director Sue Caldwell has suggested the board wait till April so incoming Superintendent Brendan Hyland would have input. He formally transitions from North Allegheny Intermediate School to Plum at the end of March.

VEBH Architects warned the board last month that any construction, including modular classrooms, may not be completed in time for the start of the 2018-19 school year if the board waits much longer.

The district had a public hearing on the closure of Regency Park Elementary last month. The board cannot formally vote to close the school until May due to state requirements.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter @MikeJdiVittorio.

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