Elementary school to remain open; cuts may come elsewhere

Elementary school to remain open; cuts may come elsewhere

FLEETWOOD, Pa. - Parents of students who attend one local elementary school can now rest easy.Richmond Elementary School in Berks County is no longer on the chopping block, however, students could see cuts in other areas.

At the Fleetwood Area School Board meeting Tuesday night, concerned parents sounded off about the possible closing of Richmond Elementary School.

The idea was one way to save money, said school board member Tom Prachar, adding that the dwindled state funding from last year is making officials look hard at their numbers for the 2012-2013 budget.

"This is the time where we have to make some tough decisions," said Pracher.

 According to the Department of Education, Berks County, as a whole, received about $35 million less in state funding than it did during the previous school year.

Talks of closing Richmond Elementary this year are now no more, said Paul Eaken, the district's superintendent.

The district has not yet released next year's budget, but school officials wanted to look at all potential options for savings.

If they were to close the school, Eaken said the district would lose out on receiving $40,000 from the state next year.

Parents like Munazza Khan and Randy Frey said they are happy Richmond Elementary is safe from closing for now.

"My kids have been going here and they like the school. I'm glad to know that it's still open," said Khan.

"My kids have gone here for several years. My in-laws have gone here, so it's nice to know," said Frey.

The district is still considering no longer having full-time kindergarten next year. Instead, it would become half days. That option, however, is not sitting well with parents either.

"I believe learning more in a little bit of time it's going to set them back and I really don't think they're going to absorb as much," said Frey.

"It's really fundamental the stuff they're learning there and I think given a seven hour time slot or eight hour time slot only helps to build that base structure," said Khan.

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