Dozens of residents turned out to the Council Rock School Board meeting Thursday to express their feelings about a series of proposals that include closing district schools, including Wrightstown Elementary School.
However, school board members stressed to the community that the process is in the early stages and the discussion is long from over.
Board President Wendi Thomas asked Council Rock’s administration to review the commonalities in the three proposals, all of which include closing Wrightstown Elementary, that were submitted by the District’s Capital Planning committee last month. The administration is expected to present their findings at a board meeting in September.
More discussions will take place following that presentation, Thomas said.
Board members stressed that discussions were in the early stages and there is plenty of time for input from the public.
“Nothing is happening tomorrow,” board member Patty Sexton said. However, she noted that the district’s enrollment is declining and important decisions have to be made. “Nobody likes the idea of closing a school. But we have to be responsible with the resources that we have.”
The suggestion of closing Wrightstown Elementary School has caused outrage among local residents, who have rallied to show their loyalty to the school that they say is small, charming and highly effective.
An online petition opposing the school closure posted on change.org has garnered nearly 950 signatures as of Friday afternoon. In addition, Wrightstown Elementary School supporters have created a Facebook page, Save Wrightstown Elementary School.
Wrightstown Supervisor Jane Magne was one of the dozens who spoke during the extensive public comment session at Thursday evening's meeting. She said closing the school would have a deep impact on not just education but the community itself, which does not have a recreation center, sports leagues or a YMCA to supplement it as a town hub.
“Closing Wrightstown elementary would be tearing the heart out of Wrightstown,” Magne said. “This is really the only place people get to know one another.”
Resident Jennifer Daniels agreed. She said an in-depth look into the proportionate impact that closing schools would have on each community is necessary before any decision is made.
Wrightstown Elementary “is the way that we form relationships with each other. That is the place where we learn about our neighbors,” she said. “I urge you to please look at that community piece in depth.”
Council Rock’s Capital Planning Committee, comprised of volunteers from across the district, was tasked with coming up with a capital plan by assessing buildings and overall student enrollment.
Proposals offered by the committee suggested that since Wrightstown Elementary School, located on Penns Park Road, is the district’s smallest and most inefficient school, it should be closed.