Bucks County Herald

Palisades rules out closing middle school

Other scenarios in play as district faces declining enrollment

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

District’s current five classroom buildings is to be closed within the next couple of years in response to declining district enrollment, it won’t be Palisades Middle School (PALMS).

The announcement was made by school board Vice President Bob Musantry at the board’s Oct. 4 meeting, during his chair’s report on the building use committee’s meeting earlier in the evening. Elimination of the PALMS closing option leaves four other scenarios on the table, including leaving things as they are.

The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Nov. 1, at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Musantry said public input at the Oct. 4 committee meeting featured concerns about changes in bus routes and class sizes that would result from deployment of any of the three remaining building closing options, as well as support for the option of leaving the three elementary schools, the middle school, and the high school in use as they are. The closing options are detailed on the district website, within the agenda for the Oct. 4 board meeting.

Building capacity data was updated with the latest projections from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Numerous negative impacts on board-approved educational programs, as well as on athletic programs, were cited as consequences of a middle school building closing.

Also at the Oct. 4 board meeting, directors approved a job description for a dean of students for the high school. After the meeting, Superintendent Bridget O’Connell said the district has had the position before. This time, it is to be filled by a teacher, whose appointment will be presented for approval at the next board meeting on Oct. 18, and who will take on the responsibilities of the assistant principal for the high school for the balance of this school year.

The assistant principal position was vacated when Karl Scheibenhofer left last month to become the new principal at PALMS.

O’Connell said a new assistant principal would be sought for the 2018-19 school year.

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