The uncertainty of future enrollment means Indian Rock Elementary School in the York Suburban School District will remain open.
The district has been reviewing a feasibility study completed last summer that suggested the district might save money by closing Indian Rock and consolidating its elementary students into three buildings.
The district administration analyzed data and projections from several studies, which show students would most likely be squeezed in the three other primary buildings if Indian Rock were to close, said superintendent Shelly Merkle.
"We don't have confidence we would fit into three schools," she said.
Study: Part of that is based on findings from the Pennsylvania Economy League study, which projects the number of incoming students from families already living in the district.
Based on those numbers, Merkle said the buildings would be full by closing Indian Rock and that some programs might have to be cut because of space restrictions. But those enrollment numbers don't account for additional students moving into the district, which are more difficult to predict.
Merkle said because of that uncertainty, the district will keep all of its buildings in operation for the foreseeable future.
If Indian Rock were to close, the district could save about $155,000, Merkle said at a school board meeting this week.
But that savings is outweighed when compared to other nonmonetary considerations, Merkle said, such as the potential for larger class sizes, longer bus rides, and a reduction in property value.
Merkle added that some of the district's long-term goals include the possibility of expanding to all-day kindergarten if funding becomes available, and providing other support programs for students who need them. By only using three school buildings, those options for expansion would be limited.
Repairs necessary: The school board will still need to solve funding questions about repairs to two of the school buildings. Indian Rock needs a new roof, with an estimated $1.6 million price tag, and East York Elementary needs to a new heating and air conditioning system, also at an estimated $1.6 million.
Merkle said even if Indian Rock were to close, the roof would need to be repaired so the school could be leased for additional revenue. Merkle said the board is still deciding where the funding will come from for those projects.
The board won't take any formal action for the time being on consolidating the schools, Merkle said. Instead, school administrators will continue to monitor enrollment figures to see if it would become wise to revisit consolidation options.
— Shannon Prusak contributed to this report. Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.