Falling Beaver County School Enrollment May Lead to Mergers, Consolidations – WPXI

BEAVER COUNTY – Parents know that education is an important factor in their choice of life. Although school district mergers and consolidations are extreme, it is a possibility in Beaver County.

“You can’t put that on the table because the first thing you have to put on the table is how do you get each district to serve its students,” said Steven Ross of Johns Hopkins University.

Beaver County Partnership has spent the past year surveying students and community members with Johns Hopkins to find solutions to declining enrollment in county schools.

“One of them was interested in writing screenplays for the theatre. They didn’t even have a school drama program. The school is great, but it does very well on state assessments,” Ross said.

Research shows love for Beaver County but frustration at small schools and limited opportunities. So, with 14 small districts spread over a large geographic area, what is the answer?

“It will be up to the larger group of community members to figure out if this is something they want or need to do,” said Dan Matsook, project manager for Beaver County Partnership.

Five community meetings are planned to find out what the community members want to do. One example the researchers looked at was Pittsburgh public schools adapting schools to different learning models. It could be an option for all schools or just high schools, but this group said it needs to be a county-wide vision.

“The alternative is the one no one wants. Even if you’re an elderly person with your kids out of school for the past 20 years, do you want to see your community shrink. What does that mean? for quality of life?” says Ross.

The virtual town hall meetings will be held on Zoom on Thursday, February 17 at 6 p.m., Monday, February 21 at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, February 23.

If you would like to attend in person, you can drop by the Community College of Beaver County Town Hall on Saturday, February 19 at 10 a.m. or the Beaver County YMCA on Saturday, February 26 at 2 p.m.

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