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Westmoreland School District Looking For Public Input On Grade And Building Configurations

Dave Wheeler/TSM
Dave Wheeler/TSM

Local administrators at the Westmoreland School District are looking for the public’s input on a survey located on the school districts website. The survey deals with the topic of consolidating buildings and possibly moving around the structure of the school system.

Currently, the Westmoreland School District has three buildings: The elementary school which houses Kindergarten through fourth graders, the middle school which houses fifth graders through eighth graders, and the high school which houses ninth graders through seniors. The district is looking at the possibility of changing the way these buildings operate, or even considering consolidating to just two buildings. The reason why, student enrollment has decreased over the past few decades:

This past September, our opening day student enrollment of 925 was 426 less than 20 years ago. The district is currently studying long term student enrollment projections that will be used in long range planning. The Board of Education continually faces the challenge of offering quality programs for our students in the most cost effective manner.

To ensure that Westmoreland is operating efficiently, the Board of Education is undertaking this study/survey to investigate building utilization and grade configurations. The study is being conducted by an independent consultant, Dr. Kevin Baughman, over the next few months.

Many former students have voiced their opinions on Facebook, and many are outraged at the idea of going to two buildings:

Jessica Pett, who graduated back in 2008, writes: Sixth graders and 12th graders shouldn’t have to walk the same hallways when they have a middle school for that reason. 

Brittany Hays, who graduated back in 2008, writes:  I can’t believe they are thinking about consolidating back to two buildings. As a sixth grader in the high school, I was TERRIFIED of the older kids. I do not want my child in a building with kids that much older.

Gabriella Cannarelli, who graduated back in 2010, writes: What would this do to the various programs such as Boces or band? Small class sizes would turn into larger class sizes with less rooms – would this take away jobs from the districts teachers and administration? There’s so many factors to consider here.

The Westmoreland School District operated under two buildings for many years: The elementary school housing K – fifth graders, and the high school/middle school housing sixth – seniors. This all changed in the fall of 2003, when the newly added middle school opened up allowing much needed space at the high school.

As part of this study, it is important that the school and community have an opportunity to weigh in and share their thoughts and ideas about school building utilization, grade alignment, etc. Please feel free to complete this survey. Your responses are confidential and anonymous. The survey is 5 questions plus a comments section. Please complete the survey no later than March 10, 2017.

Anyone is welcome to take the survey online.  You just have to specify who you are within the Westmoreland community.

 

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