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Har-Mer Elementary to close this fall

May 7, 2013 News Extra

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SLIPPERY ROCK TWP — The Slippery Rock School Board vote Monday voted to close Har-Mer Elementary School in Harrisville, effective this fall.

The 99 students and at least 11 incoming kindergarten students will be split between Moraine and Slippery Rock elementary schools. Additional class sections will be added at Slippery Rock Elementary to keep class sizes manageable, according to Superintendent Kathy Nogay.

“Because we’ve had 17 retirements, no one will be furloughed by this change,” she said.

“Those staff can be reassigned as most have multiple certifications (beyond elementary education).”

The district now must begin notifying staff, students and the state Department of Education of its plans to close the school, she said.

The closure, which has been discussed for years as a cost-cutting measure and as a response to declining enrollment at Har-Mer, did not come easily.

The board approved the move by a 6 to 2 vote, following more than an hour of discussion.

About 20 parents and teachers from Har-Mer were at the meeting, hoping to see the school remain open, including Maggie Stoughton.

“Fiscal responsibility goes beyond just making cuts,” Stoughton said, handing the board a petition with 500 signatures opposing the closure.

“Har-Mer is the only school in the Slippery Rock School District that passed its annual state Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) review.”

Board member Diana Wolak said, “I’m hoping parents will understand, it’s not ‘you versus us.’ We all want what is best for the students. We have two great groups of parents between Slippery Rock elementary and Har-Mer. Imagine what those two groups can accomplish working together.”

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