saltsburg high school sign

Following two evenings of public testimony in January and a required 90-day “cooling off” period afterward, the Blairsville-Saltsburg school board has scheduled a special meeting to address the potential closure of Saltsburg Middle/High School.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, according to a sunshine notice. The meeting will be held virtually.

Instructions to “attend” will be posted on the district’s website, www.b-ssd.org, after noon on Thursday, according to the notice.

“The purpose of the meeting is for the Board to consider and to vote on whether or not to permanently close the public schools known as Saltsburg Middle and Saltsburg High School, these schools also known as Saltsburg Middle High School, as well as any other issues brought before the Board,” the notice states.

A public hearing required by the state prior to closing a school was held Jan. 13 and 14.

Parents, students, community members, educators and more pleaded with the board and Pennsylvania Department of Education to allow the school to remain open instead of moving those students to Blairsville, saying such a move would destroy the Saltsburg community and diminish area children’s quality of life.

That hearing also included a presentation by Superintendent Philip Martell that unveiled a plan to turn SMHS into the Southern Indiana County STEAM Academy for district students in 10th through 12th grades.

Martell’s plan was met with criticism by the Saltsburg community.

In total, around 70 people spoke at the hearing, with additional written comments submitted with the official report.