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Administration to Recommend Reconfiguring Skippack Elementary Classrooms

Options have been discussed to address overpopulation problems at the school

As the Perkiomen Valley community gears up for the April 30 public meeting, during which the public will learn about proposals to solve overpopulation problem, the district’s administration “will be recommending the reconfiguration of classrooms at Skippack Elementary School as a way to address crowding and program inequities,” according to a notice on the district website.

The decision to make that recommendation came after an April 23 meeting.

The statement continues -- “The presentation, which will be shared with the community during the April 30 Town Hall meeting, included various options that have been discussed over the years, as well as the positives and negatives to each option. Those options include everything from building a new school, to adding rooms at Skippack, to reconfiguring grade structures and redrawing attendance boundaries, to doing nothing at all.

“The newest option includes leaving attendance boundaries untouched but reducing the number of homerooms at Skippack Elementary School from 36 to 33. Such a move would bump class sizes up slightly without exceeding the district’s guidelines (except by two students in the third grade). This would allow special subject areas like art, music and Spanish to return to dedicated classrooms. However, this option does not yet address other inequity and building operations issues, such as busing, a high teacher-to-administrator ratio, or scheduling concerns.”

Burgeoning school enrollment numbers have been a district concern for at least four years, and while other elementary schools’ numbers have settled, Skippack still faces a problem, according to PV Communications Director Jessica Lester.

To help address the issue, a subcommittee was formed and began to brainstorm ways to ease the situation. Subcommittee members include Lester, parents from Skippack, South and Evergreen Elementary Schools, those school’s home-and-school officers, elementary school principals, members of the facilities committee, Superintendent Dr. Clifford Rogers and Assistant Superintendent Barbara Russell, Business Administrator Jim Weaver, Director of Finance Amy Hurd, Director of Operations Scott Clemmer, members of the STA and school board members.

A survey was posted on the district’s website to garner community feedback. When asked why the public at large wasn’t part of the meetings from the beginning of this process, Lester said, “In terms of getting the plans, developed it was better to have smaller groups.”

Some of the work done by the subcommittee, such as reviewing maps of the district, would be tough to coordinate with hundreds of people, Lester said.

She emphasized that the district does “want public feedback through survey and public meeting.

“We have made efforts to get opinions from people and having parents. There are a wide variety of opinions on subcommittee.

“The FAQ is being updated as they go along …. We don’t want to let anyone feel as if they’re being left in the dark.”

The Town Hall will be held at 7 p.m. at , Monday, April 30.

C Hickey April 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM
The Fascilities Committee as well as the sub-committees have spent a great deal of time and energy on this task. I wish the school district would let professionals do this job. There are companies out there who could do this the "right" way. No bandaid fixes this time. Anyone could be moved. The Elementary School boundaries need adjusting desparately, but to do it correctly, then the Middle School boundaries should also be adjusted. Change is difficult. But let's fix this problem once and move forward so our children can grow and learn in the best environment possible. Thanks to all who have put forth their efforts.

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