Save Wrightstown Elementary School!
  • Petitioning Council Rock School District Board of Education

This petition will be delivered to:

Council Rock School District Board of Education

Save Wrightstown Elementary School!

    1. Petition by

      Amy McIntyre

      Newtown, PA

This petition has been created in response to the Council Rock School District's Capital Planning Committee's proposal to close Wrightstown Elementary School.  We realize that this is only a proposal but we the community members of Council Rock School District want to communicate our displeasure and concern regarding this suggestion from the start of the decision making process.  The neighboring district of Neshaminy just voted to close three schools so we feel only further motivated to share our great displeasure with the board immediately.  We understand that the district is in a pickle trying to match costs with revenue, but we implore you to consider other options.  Closing up to two schools and redistricting students will inevitably make one or more of the remaining schools larger.  It is well documented that small schools are best for children, teachers, and communities. 

Council Rock School district attracts people to the area based on its reputation for academic excellence and its small town school appeal.  Wrightstown Elementary is tied for the second best performing elementary school in the district and seems to be the only elementary school within the district to have received a Blue Ribbon distinction.  On websites such as greatschools.org which allow for reviews, parents most often rate Wrightstown Elementary as five stars citing its small size as one of its many winning attributes.

The benefits of small schools have been widely studied and documented.  Below are just a few of the many studies and papers that support the notion of small school size.

In 2004, Harvard University published a paper which found that a growing body of evidence points to the size of schools as a significant determining factor in academic achievement.  Large schools are often far less successful at educating students than small schools.

In the summer of 2001, the Association for Childhood Education International published a study which concluded that student achievement, persistence, and performance were stronger in small schools, and standardized test scores improved markedly. The benefits of small schools also extended to adults. Parents appeared to be satisfied; teachers in small schools were more likely to report that they collaborated freely with colleagues, engaged more regularly in professional development activities, built coherent educational programs for students across grades and disciplines, created focused learning environments, and, in general, were more satisfied with their work.

The National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities published a booklet in 2007 which concluded that smaller schools on average can provide a safer place for students, a more challenging environment, higher achievement, higher graduation rates, fewer discipline problems, and much greater satisfaction for families, students and teachers.

In 2013, the University of Arkansas published a study which found significant negative effects of large schools on student math and reading achievement of -.043 and -.023 standard deviation respectively, compared to the average sized school. 

The National Center for Educational Statistics' report, Violence and Discipline Problems in US Public Schools: 1996-97, concluded that while 38 percent of small schools reported any incidents, 60 percent of medium sized schools and 89 percent of large schools reported criminal incidents.

The National Education Association attributes raised student achievement, increased attendance, elevated teacher satisfaction and improved school climates to smaller school size on its website.

But small doesn't have to mean more costly. Northwest Educational Research Laboratory published a study in January of 2002 which found that while it may be true that in small schools some costs increase because they are spread out over fewer students, research suggests that large schools require added tiers of administration, more security people and additional maintenance and operations personnel.  The required disciplinary and other administrative personnel of large schools are so costly that, past a certain point, per pupil cost goes up-and keeps going up as the school gets larger.

In addition, transportation costs including fuel, buses, bus drivers, and maintenance would also be higher if Council Rock School District consolidated.

In conclusion we want to emphasize that we know there is no easy solution but we ask you to take closing our school off the table. 

Sources listed in the order mentioned above:

Hylden, Jordan. (May 2005) What's So Big About Small Schools?  The Case for Small Schools: Nationwide and in North Dakota.  The Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University.

Kieff, Judith.  (Summer 2001) Small Schools: Great Strides. A study of new small schools in Chicago.  Association for Childhood Education International.

Nathan, Joe & Febey, Karen.  (2001)  Smaller, Safer, Saner Successful Schools.  National Clearninghouse for Educational Facilities, Washington, D.C.

Egalite, Anna Jacob & Kisida, Brian.  (March 2013)  The Impact of School Size on Student Achievement: Evidence from Four States.  Department of Education Reform. University of Arkansas.

Heaviside, Sheila et al.  (March 1998) Violence and Discipline Problems in U.S. Public Schools: 1996-97.  National Center for Education Statistics.

http://www.nea.org/home/13639.htm

Lawrence, Barbara Kent, et al.  (2002) Dollars and Sense: The Cost Effectiveness of Small Schools.  Knowledge Works Foundation.

To:
Council Rock School District Board of Education
Save Wrightstown Elementary School

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Big Board of Ed meeting Thursday at 7!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      The agenda for tomorrow night is posted. The meeting starts at 7 tomorrow where usually it is 7:30. Please keep this in mind. Tomorrow should be a really important meeting. The board will discuss administration's presentation from last week modeling a WES closure and related redistricting. Also administration will be presenting a model on eliminating the use of modular classrooms. It is likely that redistricting would be involved in that model as well. For whatever reason, the presentation from last week has not been posted online. I don't know what they will do going forward, so attending the meetings may be one of your only ways to see this vital information. Come be a part of the process. Council Rock will be making big decisions in four weeks. Don't be in the dark. Have your voice heard.

      http://www.crsd.org/cms/lib5/PA01000188/Centricity/Domain/85/2014_10_16_WebAgenda.pdf

    2. You're invited!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      You’re invited! Community Information Session

      WRIGHTSTOWN VILLAGE LIBRARY

      Tuesday OCT 7th AT 7:30pm

      In the spirit of supporting Wrightstown Elementary School, please join us to discuss:
      · Will a decision to close Wrightstown Elementary School be made on Nov. 6?
      · If so, will other schools become overcrowded?
      · Are modular classrooms bad for kids? Would we need even more modular classrooms if Wrightstown Elementary School is closed?
      · Will our taxes increase even if they close Wrightstown Elementary School?

      www.facebook/savewrightstown

    3. This is a very important email, please read it fully.

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Good evening,

      It is starting to happen. People are finally starting to talk about the potential closure of Wrightstown Elementary School (WES). You might be hearing opinions from neighbors or fellow parents at soccer games. You might even be seeing headlines in local papers about the Council Rock Administration's take on this issue.

      To help you feel confident in fighting for our school, below are 10 key facts:

      1. Mark Klein and the district administration recommended to the board on last Thursday, September 11th, NOT to close any elementary schools as it will overburden the other schools taking on those children.

      2. WES has the lowest overall costs of any elementary school by over a million dollars. For example, Goodnoe Elementary School's total annual costs are $10,972,565. Holland Elementary School which only has about 20 more students than WES has annual costs of $6,131,566. Wrightstown Elementary School's total costs are $4,512,756. The district's total budget is over $214 million dollars this year. So WES makes up about 1.5% of the district budget.

      3. WES has the fourth highest cost per pupil. The difference in the annual cost to educate WES' 321 students at its current cost per pupil vs the district average cost per pupil is a mere $632 per student.

      4. WES is the fourth most stable school when looking at enrollment. We're up seven kids this year! District-wide we are up 17 kids at the elementary school level. 40% of the turnaround came from WES. WES enrollment is now trending upward and closing the school makes no sense when there may be a need to reopen in a few short years.

      5. WES is not the only school in the district with no access to sewer. Sol Feinstone uses septic and has current enrollment in the high six hundreds. Our spray system could certainly be expanded if need be. It is not a reason to close a school.

      6. Closing WES would have a significant cost to the district and a significant burden to the schools that try to absorb the displaced children. The cost to ready another elementary school to receive WES kids is estimated to be about $5 million. The cost to renovate WES to be used in another capacity is estimated to be $5 million. The estimated savings of a closed WES elementary school vary from $330k to $900k a year depending on the proposal. Based on these figures, the district would not break even and realize any savings for over a decade.

      7. Enrollment projections have a history of being drastically wrong in Council Rock. And once again they are significantly off this time around. All three proposals submitted to the school board incorrectly assumed a drastic continued decline in enrollment based on projections. The actual enrollment numbers are already off by 100 students. To make decisions about school closures based on these inaccurate projections rather than what is actually happening with enrollment makes no sense.

      8. The School Board is about to spend tens of millions to build/renovate middle schools, and the Administration has modeled how taxes can be increased for 7 straight years to help pay for this - school taxes are going up whether they close a school or not. Raise taxes AND close my school? Ummm, no thanks!

      9. WES is the ONLY school in the district to receive the national Blue Ribbon Award, and they received it twice. As we know, a National Blue Ribbon School flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities.

      10. Enrollment is down over 1,000 kids from its peak in 2006, but at that time nearly every school had kids in trailers. The Administration pointed out that the decline in enrollment has allowed us to remove trailers from schools. While the number of trailers at our schools is drastically down, we still have kids in trailers today. If we can't even keep kids out of trailers, how do we have room to close schools?

      The answer is we don't. A WES closure next year would overburden the schools which would receive those children. The same is true for Rolling Hills.

      The facts don't support elementary school closures. And yet we have board members who, based on their comments appear dead set on closing schools. Now we need to start asking the questions. Why? What is your true motivation for a WES closure if all the data indicates it is not wise?

      WES family: it is time to fight and fight like heck. Fight for truth. Fight for excellence. Fight for education. Fight for community. Fight for our school. The next meeting is this Thursday the 18th at 7:30 at 30 N Chancellor St. Please come. And in the meantime, don't let anyone tell you your school is draining the district or any other such nonsense. Fight back with the facts.

      Thank you for your help and commitment to WES.

      Sincerely,

      Team Save WES

      p.s. When you have some time, please click on this link which has excellent resources put together by people from Team Save WES. Showing inconsistencies in the proposals, financial analysis of proposal 1, cost saving alternatives, cost per pupil data, enrollment data, etc. The more we know the better.

      https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B5u0yb2yLMRXVjVrUno5bmFDeU0&usp=sharing

    4. We have car magnets and yard signs!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      We have Save Wrightstown Elementary School car magnets! We are asking $2.50 for one, and will take donations over that to help us buy more. Thanks to Save WES Committee members who funded this purchase!

      We will have these available before and after the School Board meeting tonight. If you want car magnets and cannot make it to the School Board meeting, please PM the facebook page or send your name and phone number to savewrightstown@gmail.com. We will make sure it gets to you. We also have yard signs - if you are willing to put up a yard sign let us know, we want to make sure we get visibility on the main roads first and then we will see how many we have left to distribute to everyone else.

      Don't forget visibility at the Board meetings is critical, and the more people we have the better. Please come to as many as you can.

    5. Big Board of Ed meeting Thursday at 7:30

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Big Board of Ed meeting this Thursday night at 7:30. Mark Klein and other school administration are supposed to speak for the first time on their recommendations to the board for a capital plan. This will also likely lead to the first open and comprehensive conversation about a plan among board members. Please come to show your support for WES and to get a feel for where each board member stands on this issue. Thursday Sept 11th at 7:30 at 30 N Chancellor St. Will post the agenda as soon as its up. Hope to see you there!

    6. Big Board of Ed meeting Thursday at 7:30

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Hi Everyone!

      There is a big board of ed meeting on Thursday. An agenda has not yet been posted, but after attending a facilities meeting last week, this is what I expect will occur:

      1. administration will be modeling the financials for the various options for the middle schools. This includes a rebuild of Newtown Middle, closing Richboro Middle and renovating/expanding Holland Middle.

      2. A couple of board members will likely maintain that they will not vote on anything middle school related until the full 5 year plan is established. This will once again open up conversations to close Wrightstown Elementary School.

      We need a really strong presence at this meeting and we need people who are willing to speak during public comment. Composed and respectful is key. And the board will respond much more to facts and logical reasoning versus "I love Wrightstown so much. It is the best school and my kids just love it, too."

      The meeting is at 30 N. Chancellor St, Newtown, PA 18940 and starts at 7:30. If you plan to speak during public comment please arrive a bit early to add your name to the list for public comment.

      I hope to see lots of you there. Summer is wrapping up and this is going to be in full swing in the coming weeks including Thursday. Thanks for your continued support to save WES!

    7. Tennis Ball Collection Goal Met!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Team Save WES, you did it! You collected so many tennis balls for WES that we met their goal of 2,500 balls and doubled it. Can't say I'm surprised They will probably have enough tennis balls to help a second elementary school! Way to go! I've said it before but I'm really proud to be a part of such an amazing community. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    8. Show support by donating $$$ for tennis balls!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Ok Save WES community! I have an easy tangible way we can show the board what WES means to us. The school is trying to collect about 2500 tennis balls to put on the legs of every chair and every desk to protect the new floors. A community member and the Newtown Pro-Shop have negotiated a deal on our behalf that will allow us to pool monetary donations and buy new balls in bulk at 36% off retail (inclusive of freight and tax). The minimum amount we need to raise to be able to take advantage of this discount is $1,300. So let's put our money where our mouth is. Due to a deadline, if you are going to contribute, checks need to be in the mail basically tomorrow. Make checks payable to Newtown Pro-Shop and mail them to Andrea Hogan 820 Cherry Lane, Newtown PA. 18940. If the minimum of $1,300 to secure the bulk buy is not reached, the checks will be returned. If you have questions, please contact Andrea Hogan at andreahogan@comcast.net Please share this information with people you feel may want to contribute. Thank you!

    9. Informal Group meeting to come up with a plan to save WES

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Hi All! Thank you for signing the petition! I can't believe we have over 1,000 signatures! Amazing! We have formed a small informal group which is going to dig into the proposals, reports, and budgets and find ways to save our school. Our first meeting is tonight. If you would be interested in being a part of this group, please email me at jmuamy@yahoo.com. And if you can't make it tonight do not fret. Tonight is our first meeting but it will not be our last. We have a particular need for people with backgrounds in accounting, finance and real estate, but welcome anyone committed to helping save our school. Lastly, if you haven't yet, please like our facebook page as most of our updates are posted there. facebook.com/savewrightstown

    10. Reached 1,000 signatures
    11. Please send pics of hopeful WES grads

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Below is an example of photo submissions we are looking for. We will print out all the photos and put them in an album for the board of ed on Thursday night. Please take a pic of your hopeful WES grads holding a sign that says something like "I want to graduate from Wrightstown Elementary School!" and email it to me at jmuamy@yahoo.com Deadline is Wednesday night at 11pm. So far we have nine photos through Facebook. It's a start but we need lots more for it to be compelling. Also please mention in your email if it is ok for us to also post the picture on Facebook so that people will see it is gaining momentum and join in. Thanks Team Save WES!

      https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=470224263121360&set=pb.469735543170232.-2207520000.1405428625.&type=3&theater

    12. Reached 750 signatures
    13. For those planning to attend the Wrightstown township meeting tonight...

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      May I suggest saving your energy for Thursday night? When we called the township, we received bad information. There is a meeting tonight and it is open (just as all meetings are), but it is a working session with no opportunity for public comment. So it isn't exactly the appropriate meeting for us to attend. There is a Wrightstown township meeting on Monday the 21st at 7:30 which has opportunity for public comment. We are sorry for inconveniencing any of you who planned to attend tonight. Please save your energy this week for the Board of Education meeting on Thursday night! It is at 30 North Chancellor St in Newtown at 7:30 this Thursday the 17th. We need to be out in full force so the board can see the hundreds of faces behind this petition. Thank you so very much for your support. It means everything. And if you are local and wish to be updated more frequently, please like our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/savewrightstown

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School. 433 likes · 210 talking about this. On June 18th, a capital planning committee recommended the Council Rock Board of...

    14. Another great article in the paper about our cause!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer
      Hundreds sign petition opposing Wrightstown Elementary School closing

      Closing Wrightstown Elementary was one of several recommendations made by a planning committee of residents from all over the school district after several months of research and study. School board members have said they'll study the recommendations closely and make decisions over the next few weeks and months.

    15. Don't forget to like our facebook page!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so much for signing the petition. I really can't believe we are almost to 700 signatures. If you are local to Council Rock School District, please don't forget to like our Facebook page for local updates and information! Thanks again!

      https://www.facebook.com/savewrightstown

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School. 377 likes · 360 talking about this. On June 18th, a capital planning committee recommended the Council Rock Board of...

    16. Reached 500 signatures
    17. 400 Signatures! Amazing!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      Thank you so very much for taking the time to sign the petition. It means so much. Please email it out to neighbors, friends and family who live within the district. Also be sure to have all household members sign. Lastly, please like our facebook page for the most updates including links to all three proposals to the board, and a copy of the CRSD's proposed budget for the upcoming school year. Thanks again and more to come!!!

      https://www.facebook.com/savewrightstown

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School. 304 likes · 323 talking about this. On June 18th, a capital planning committee recommended the Council Rock Board of...

    18. Reached 250 signatures
    19. We have our first press!!!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      GREAT job everyone! This is getting exciting! Please keep sharing the petition and Facebook page! And share your ideas with me on how to best influence the board. Look what we've pulled off in just three days! Go team WES!!!

      http://newtown-pa.patch.com/groups/schools/p/wrightstown-residents-launch-online-campaign-to-save-elementary-school

      https://www.facebook.com/savewrightstown

      Wrightstown Residents Launch Online Campaign to Save Elementary School

      Members of the Wrightstown community are coming together to stop any serious consideration of closing their elementary school.

    20. Reached 100 signatures
    21. We have media outlets wanting to write about us and a Facebook Page!!!

      Amy McIntyre
      Petition Organizer

      We want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to sign the petition. It is picking up steam. We have already heard from one local newspaper and one Bucks County website interested in writing about our cause. Please consider emailing the petition to friends and family in the area as well as neighbors asking them to sign too!

      And if you are local and want to be kept informed regarding board meeting times, updates from the planning committee, and other ways to be voice your concern, like our Facebook page! We are asking WES families to take photos of their Wrightstown kids or future Wrightstown kids holding a sign saying "I want to graduate from Wrightstown Elementary!" We will then print out all the pics, put them in a photo album, and bring it to the next board meeting on July 17th!

      https://www.facebook.com/savewrightstown

      Thanks again for signing. It means so much to us. Unfortunately, for the board, this may be just the beginning of what is necessary to change their mind. We are motivated and they will find out of July 17th! Thank you! And have a wonderful July 4th with your families!

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School

      Save Wrightstown Elementary School. 6 likes. On June 18th, a capital planning committee recommended the Council Rock Board of Education close Wrightstown...

    22. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Brian Canna NEWTOWN, PA
      • 4 days ago

      The benefits of having a small elementary school.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alyssa DeSimone NEWTOWN, PA
      • 5 days ago

      I attended Wrightstown Elementary School.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Brian Mills Sr. NEWTOWN, PA
      • 16 days ago

      Its a very good school in a growing area. Better utilization of it is a far better option than closing it.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Patryk Wyrzykowski NEWTOWN, PA
      • 21 days ago

      Proud Alum

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Norma T. Ayala TRENTON NJ, NC
      • 28 days ago

      My grandchildren attend and are in smaller environment for learning and safety. Also my son who is an adult attend that same environment and did very will academically. Do not close down a great school for the ages you provide essential educational, emotional, andpsychological benefit

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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