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Quakertown Elementary School Building not for Sale
Written by Jennifer Frieze, Correspondent

            During a special meeting last Wednesday evening, the Quakertown Community School District Board members removed an agenda item to sell the Quakertown Elementary School.

            The elementary school is located at 123 S. Seventh St. The building was originally constructed in 1928 and last renovated in 1967.

            Once the motion was made and it was set the district would not sell the building, the board continued with a lengthy and intense discussion in regard to the matter. No action was taken to renovate or reuse the building.

"The motion does not have anything relevant to closing Quakertown Elementary," school board President Glenn Iosue said. "It doesn't have anything relevant to repurposing QE."

            In 2021, a committee of school officials and parents recommended renovation. The committee stated renovations would displace fewer students and offer smaller class sizes. It would also evenly distribute students throughout the district.

            However, the committee also noted downsides to renovation. This included significant cost, lack of access for students with disabilities and the potential for under-capacity schools based on a predicted decline in student enrollment.

            Studies, conducted by Schradergoup, have indicated roughly $21.7 million in renovations and upgrades would be required.

            Many residents who addressed the board during public comment, were in favor of keeping the building as an elementary school and not repurposing the building.

But some concerned residents cited overcrowding, safety and disorderly student behavior as objections to keeping the facility as an elementary school.

            Melissa Tomlinson, of Quakertown Borough, expressed her concern to the board. "The concerns and negatives have been brought to your attention via email over and over again. Yet our concerns of overcrowding, safety, increased behaviors and whatever else has come across your plate, seems to be ignored for whatever hidden agenda is behind this current discussion," she said.

            Some objected to a proposal that Quakertown Elementary students would move to the Quakertown Community Sixth Grade Center, while students at the Sixth Grade Center would be moved into Strayer Middle School.

            Robert Leight, of Richland Township, agreed with the residents that spoke before him. He shared with the board that he also has a unique perspective. Leight grew up in the area and attended school in the Quakertown District. He was also a teacher for 7th and 8th graders in the Palisades and Pennridge School Districts. In addition, he and his wife opened Richland Country Day School. For over 37 years, they educated children in the district.

            Leight stated that the district has enough room to keep students in the learning centers they are currently in. "You have enough room. There is no good reason to crowd students in this community. So keep the schools as they are"

            Towards the adjournment of the meeting, Member Chris Spears addressed the community members attending the meeting. "Thank you for being here. Because if not, a decision would have been made," he said.






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