PV views new plan to consolidate schools
BY CINDY HUMMEL, Correspondent
A revised consolidation plan for Pequea Valley's elementary schools is back under consideration for the fall.
In March, PV school board members delayed an elementary consolidation plan until at least the 2014-15 school year.
During a school board meeting last Tuesday, Superintendent Erik Orndorff presented a new consolidation option that addressed concerns in the community, such as long bus rides for the youngest students.
The new Option B includes having districtwide pre-kindergarten at Salisbury and fourth and fifth grades at Paradise. Both schools would continue to have kindergarten through grade three.
Also under the new option, 80 percent of learning-support students would go to Salisbury. Fourth- and fifth-graders from Salisbury would be bused to Paradise.
Option A, which was not approved for the fall, included putting all kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students at Salisbury, with grades one through five at Paradise. The plan included shuttling kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students from Paradise to Salisbury, which concerned parents because of longer ride times.
Board president Bryant Ferris said he needed more time to consider the new option. Other board members asked for more details on both options.
"Unless we trim costs," board member Fred Hertzler said, "doing nothing only makes us digging a deeper hole next year."
Business manager John Bowden said balancing the 2013-14 budget requires consolidation in the fall, budget cuts or the use of district savings. Any potential tax increase is limited by state Act 1.
Option A would save about $700,000, Orndorff said, while Option B would save about $600,000 for the 2014-15 academic year.
Orndorff said if the board moved Option B up a year, the district would have to furlough four professional staff members instead of eliminating positions by not replacing anticipated retirees.
Board members asked Orndorff to bring more specific information on costs for both options for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years to a May meeting.
Salisbury parents asked the board to find other ways to trim the budget. Parent Christine Zink said residents now send their children to cyberschools that do not have athletics. She would rather see extracurricular activities cut before consolidating Salisbury and Paradise.
"We just cannot do this (elementary consolidation) for next year," Zink said. "We just cannot."
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