Indiana, PA - Indiana County

BILL BALINT: Closing school still leaves room for growth

on December 19, 2012 10:45 AM

My letter of Nov. 18 citing the use of 53 classrooms (the number 33 was a typo) in three elementary school buildings in the Indiana district after closure of one seems to have made some input on the board, based on the special meeting report of Dec. 4 in the Gazette.

I am still concerned about the president's remarks that a resurgence of firms -- like Fisher Scientific, Season-all, FMC, Robertshaw, King Leather and Campus Sportswear in the past -- could bring a large increase in school population, as well as district taxpayers.

Using the board's figures of 18 per class in kindergarten, 20 for first and second, and 25 for third and fourth, the expected enrollment for September 2013 for K-4 will be approximately 1,060 students. If we use 21 of 22 classrooms in Ben Franklin, 20 of 21 in East Pike and 10 of 17 or 15 in Eisenhower or Horace Mann, we would still have nine or seven unused classrooms for expansion that could provide for 180 or 140 students.

Furthermore, if the closed school is mothballed, as the Navy mothballed ships unneeded after wars, the possibility still remains to put 300 more expansion students in that school when and if reopened. How safe is safe? One hundred and forty students added to the 1,060 is a 13 percent increase, 180 is 17 percent and 140+300= 440/1,060 is 41 percent. Enough backup?

Management of classroom resources is not rocket science and the Indiana board certainly has enough talent to handle the fiscal problem in a logical manner. As rooms are allocated to each school, it would about put borough students in a borough school and township students in township schools. It would eliminate busing township students to borough schools to fill classrooms as is now done.

Bill Balint


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