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Making sacrifices at schools

It is time for the Warren County School District and the community to take a hard look at closing one of its school buildings.

The $40 million price tag for building renovations over the next five years is enough to warrant looking at a possible building closure, but Gov. Tom Wolf’s clear indication to shift state school aid from small, rural districts to growing school districts in the cities should make the area’s parents and school district leaders reexamine ways to make the Warren County School District run more efficiently.

Youngsville High School has the most capital needs, according to Jon Thomas of Thomas and Williamson. Most of the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems need to be replaced while windows also need to be replaced. The Sheffield Area Middle/High School, meanwhile, needs $15.4 million for masonry repointing, a new roof, doors and hardware, window replacement, wall, ceiling and floor finishes, lockers, food service equipment, and updates to its mechanical, electrical and plumbing system.

Forty million dollars is a heavy lift for the community to do alone, and Warren County can’t expect — particularly given Wolf’s basic education formula changes — that Pennsylvania will come through with a blank check for capital projects that may not be necessary.

District officials know what must be done. The district’s demographic study and facilities condition report are all pointing in the direction of school consolidation.

It’s time for the public to wrap its collective head around the idea.

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