The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 2, 2013

Closings of two schools save Line Mountain money

By Robert Stoneback
The Daily Item

— TREVORTON — With both the Dalmatia and Leck Kill elementary schools closed, the Trevorton Elementary School will expand next school year to accommodate all of Line Mountain’s kindergarten through fourth-grade classes.

“As far as the students go, the schools are closed and they will be starting in their new location at the start of the 2013-14 school year,” said Troy Laudenslager, president of the Line Mountain school board.

While the buildings, which closed May 27, the last day of classes, may still be of some use to the district, students will no longer attend classes at either Leck Kill or Dalmatia.

The Trevorton Elementary School will be renamed the Line Mountain Elementary School to reflect its new role in the district.

The Trevorton Elementary previously was used for kindergarten through sixth-grade students, but fifth- and sixth-graders now will attend classes at the combined Line Mountain Middle-High School.

About 200 students will be leaving the Trevorton school, with about 300 being added. To accommodate this change, additional classroom space has been added to both buildings.

The decision to close the two elementary schools and consolidate was the result of many factors, said Laudenslager, including education cuts made in Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget.

“We’ve saved a significant amount of money by consolidating,” Laudenslager said. “Consolidation was more cost-effective in the long-term rather than paying for the renovation of the school.”

The savings came from pooling primary school resources and staff in one location as opposed to spreading them throughout the district, he said. Utilities have been reduced, and while there will be some reduction in maintenance staff, so far that will only be through retirements, Laudenslager said.

According to earlier cost estimates, consolidating the kindergarten through fourth-grade classes and combining the senior and junior high schools cost approximately $7.4 million. The cost of building a new centralized school near Dalmatia would have been approximately $8 million.

It was because the board chose to consolidate the schools that it was able to lower real estate taxes by one mill last year and have no increase this year, Laudenslager said. “We could have been borrowing money outright just to fix up Dalmatia,” he said.