Bucks County Herald

Palisades committee recommends tabling of school closing scenarios


At the April 4 Palisades School Board meeting, student Kyle Milligan, right, accepted the Ottsville Volunteer Fire Company’s Meritorious Service Award from Fire Chief Bill Shick, second from left, in recognition of his life-saving efforts during a Dec. 27 ice rescue.

The Palisades School District’s Building Use Ad Hoc Committee, which has been considering alternative school closing scenarios for over a year and a half as a response to declining district enrollment, has now recommended to the board that all school closing scenarios be tabled.

Since the onset of public participation last spring, residents, in both numbers and intensity, had increasingly questioned the need for any closings.

The tabling recommendation was announced during the committee report at the April 4 general board meeting, which was the first to be held since Feb. 21 because of snow cancellations. Similarly, the April 4 board meeting was preceded by the first committee meeting since Feb. 14.

But in the interim, a series of extra-ordinary meetings were held with each of the three board members on the committee, and their constituents from the district regions they represent. Director Bob Musantry, representing Springfield, held his special meeting at the elementary school on March 12, following the P.T.O. meeting that evening. Director Eric Gretzinger, representing Bridgeton and Tinicum, held his at Tinicum Elementary on March29, and Director David Haubert, representing Durham, Nockamixon and Riegelsville, convened his at his home on April 2. All of the special meetings were publicized through the three elementary school principals.

The next committee meeting is to take up the question of how a new stakeholder group, consisting of board members, administrators, and the community at large, would be prompted to consider any need to revisit school closing scenarios, and how such an effort could fit with the school board’s charter, which requires it to function through already existing committees. During the April 4 committee meeting, the 2020 federal census was noted as possibly helpful toward resolving the controversy over enrollment data and enrollment projections, which to date have primarily featured reliance on data from the state Department of Education.

At the outset of the April 4 general board meeting, student Kyle Milligan, a junior member of the Ottsville Volunteer Fire Company, was presented with the group’s Meritorious Service Award by his Fire Chief Bill Shick. Last Dec. 27, during an ice rescue on a local pond, Milligan was credited by Shick with providing life-saving assistance as the duo struggled to save a kayaker who had overturned during his own attempt to rescue a swan.



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