Monday, July 14, 2014

Pittston Area school may close

Shutting Kindergarten Center would force shuffle of students to other district buildings.

March 30. 2013 10:58PM

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DUPONT — The Pittston Area School Board will hold a public hearing April 10 to gather input about the possible closing of the Ben Franklin Kindergarten Center.

Superintendent Michael Garzella said the building is in need of about $2 million in repairs and upgrades. But closing the center would require moving several lower-grade classes to other buildings.

The school board is only thinking about closing the kindergarten center as a cost-saving measure, Garzella said. He urged the public to attend the public hearing at 6:30 p.m. at the Primary Center on Rock Street in Hughestown to discuss the proposal’s pros and cons.

“The building needs significant attention,” said Garzella. “It needs a new heating system and electrical work. The real issue is do we want to invest a couple million dollars in that particular building.”

The district has ample space to relocate the students from the center, but it involves moving several classes around, Garzella said. The kindergarten students would go to the district’s Primary Center, he said. That center would then house kindergarten and first-grade students, Garzella said.

Second-grade students would attend Martin L. Mattei Intermediate Center, which currently houses third, fourth and fifth grades. If the second grade is moved to Mattei, fifth-graders would be moved to the Middle School on the same campus.

Garzella hasn’t heard much input from area residents about the plan, he said, although that’s likely to change at the public hearing. He would meet with any concerned parents prior to the hearing, he said.

“The Primary Center is a much nicer building, by far, than the Kindergarten Center,” Garzella said.

The superintendent said this plan has been discussed in the past, but never implemented. “Now, the real issue is money and whether we can justify investing a lot of money in an old building,” he said.

The building is about 50 years old.

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