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To the Editor:

As a Salisbury Township resident, parent and educator, I have many serious concerns about the proposal to close Western Salisbury Elementary School abruptly at the end of the school year. At the public hearing on March 4, hundreds of parents and community members gathered to hear the administration’s presentation about consolidating grades K-4 at Truman Elementary and sending all district fifth graders to middle school.

The presentation missed the mark: rather than convincing stakeholders that this was a thoughtful, strategic move to improve student achievement and address budget shortfalls, it left the public with valid concerns about the one-sided data presented, lack of sufficient time and resources to successfully execute a reconfiguration and doubts about the long-term plan for facilities and leadership in the district.

Approximately 60 community members spoke, almost entirely in opposition to the proposal and the hearing lasted until after 11:30 p.m. Yet, I, along with many, now have more questions than answers.

Student achievement was not at the center of the discussion, as it should be. We still don’t know how this saves dollars significantly in both the immediate- and long-term. The district’s proposal is short-sighted, last-minute and ill-received. I urge the school board to reject it.

Patty McClain