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DuBois Area School District proposing closure of 3 elementary schools

The board has been discussing the possibility of closing Penfield, Sykesville and Luthersburg Elementary Schools for the 2017-18 school year since last year. (WJAC)

DUBOIS - In two weeks, the DuBois Area School Board will make a final decision on whether or not to close three of its seven elementary schools.

The board has been discussing the possibility of closing Penfield, Sykesville and Luthersburg elementary schools for the 2017-18 school year since last year.

If the board would ultimately choose to close the three schools, Penfield students would be integrated between Oklahoma and Juniata elementary schools in DuBois; Sykesville students into C.G. Johnson in Reynoldsville; and Luthersburg into Wasson Elementary in DuBois.

Community members said not too many people agree with the decision.

"There's been a lot of comment at the board meetings from people at each one of those schools who said they feel like they have a family at these schools," Luthersburg resident Glenn Shuckers said. "The children feel safe there, and we'd like to preserve that. We'd like to keep that family feel because we think it's a good educational policy to follow."

Superintendent Dr. Luke Lansberry said that in 2008, the district had 4,193 students. As of 2016, there were 3,675.

Lansberry said if the schools close, 26 people would be subject to retirement or furloughed, including: one in administration, 10 teachers, three custodians, two secretaries, nine instructional assistants and one food service worker.

Lansberry said this would provide an estimated annual savings of $1.25 million.

But volunteer at Luthersburg Elementary School Barb Muth said smaller class sizes are best for student education.

"When you look at the PSSA scores for the elementary schools, the three schools that have the highest PSSA scores are the three schools that they want to close," Muth said. "To me, that should tell them that the smaller schools and the smaller classrooms are going to give you the better PSSA scores."

A special board meeting to make a final decision on whether to close the three elementary schools will be held at 6 p.m., April 4, at the Administrative Center in DuBois.

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