Local school district in trouble

May 4, 2009 3:54:13 PM PDT
One thing's for sure in one Montgomery County public school system enrollment is on the decline. But what comes next for the Hatboro-Horsham district is still up in the air.Parents have heard rumors that school closings may be in the future. Monday night they'll get the facts as school board members host a public meeting.

At the end of each day, parents seem satisfied with their children's education at Pennypack elementary school. But they're worried that declining enrollment in the Hatboro-Horsham school district, may eventually lead to this or one of two other elementary schools closing their doors. Home and school president Amy Riemenschneider has sons in the 1st & 4th grades.

"I am concerned that the school is going to close, where my children are going to be put. Are they going to be bussed, redistricted?"

Enrollment in the 5-thousand student district has dropped about 6% in recent years leaving some schools under populated. Student rolls are expected to decline another 10% in the next decade.

The superintendant tells action news declining enrollment and aging buildings are the problem. A committee of parents, educators and administrators has been studying both. Their findings and recommendations will be released at a school board meeting Monday night.

"My concern is going to close our school and consolidate to a larger school which I don't think is beneficial to students at either school."

Concerned parents like Stephanie Druding hope the district balances its financial bottom line with students' educational needs.

While perhaps a simple solution to some, some parents believe a school closure would be disruptive, negatively effect class size, create unsafe travel for students walking home... and force more young students onto school busses.

"Bussing is a concern to me. I have a 1st grader. What's he gonna learn on the school bus," said Amy.

"I'm just hoping that there's something they don't have to close any. I don't want to see any kids in the district uprooted from school," said Mary Fay.

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