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Despite public outcry, Stroudsburg school board votes to close Ramsey Elementary

By Joe McDonald, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: May 21 2014 11:50:32 PM CDT
Updated On: May 22 2014 06:29:52 AM CDT

Stroudsburg school board decides to close Ramsey and Clearview schools

STROUDSBURG, Pa. -

Over the raucous objections of an angry crowd of 150 parents and families, the Stroudsburg Area School board voted Wednesday night to close Ramsey Elementary School at the end of this school year and Clearview Elementary School at the end of the next school year.

The five-member majority voting in favor of closing Ramsey Elementary, located in Stroudsburg’s historic Hill District, were taunted with personal attacks, threats their days in office were numbered and for the most part treated with total contempt.

Amid  the invectives, some in the audience said an injunction would be sought against the district.

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Board members opposing the closure claimed Ramsey’s fate was decided by board members who had not done their homework.

“You have no clue what you’re going to do with Ramsey,” said Joanne Kochanski, a borough councilwoman who has lived in the neighborhood 42 years.

Others could not understand the logic behind the decision.

“Why are you closing two perfectly good buildings and shoving children into trailers?” said Lindsay Paradis.

School district officials have pointed to declining student enrollment and chronic deficits as the spurs to cut costs.

Some questioned whether the school board was being short-sighted and focusing on relatively small-change savings at the expense of uprooting students in first and second grades and sending them to any one of three other schools.

A large group walked out of the meeting after the board announced it was eliminating a secretary, an office nurse, two custodians and two cafeteria monitors.

Deana Susinskas told the board they were moving too quickly, noting it took two years for Pleasant Valley School District to close one school after it lost 2,000 students.

She also criticized the board for not considering the possibility of future growth.

“Let’s look beyond today,” she said.

Superintendent John A. Toleno has told the board that closing Ramsey would trigger a complete redistricting of boundary lines and transportation in the district.

Toleno said closing Ramsey would mean students in first and second grades would go to Hamilton Elementary, one section of kindergarten would go to Morey Elementary and one kindergarten section would go to Clearview.