School closure up for discussion at forum

  • Warwick Community School on Winchester Road in Warwick, May 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/Dan Little

Staff Writer
Published: 1/7/2019 7:41:24 AM

WARWICK — A plan for closing Warwick Community School will be discussed at a forum with school administrators on Wednesday at 6:30 at the school.

The following Thursday, the Pioneer Valley Regional School Committee is expected to vote on closing one or both of the district’s two smaller elementary schools, the other being Leyden’s Pearl Rhodes Elementary School.

If the school is closed, Warwick’s elementary students will be merged into Northfield Elementary School. The practical details of the merger, such as class sizes, staff retention and transportation will be discussed at the forum.

According to data provided by Pioneer Superintendent Jon Scagel, the merger would result in class sizes between 12 and 18 students.

Plans for school closures have been taking shape since last spring, when the district discovered a financial deficit now confirmed to be about $450,000. The consensus among the School Committee and district administrators is that the deficit was not an isolated case of mismanagement, but rather was a sign that the district’s business model is no longer sustainable. School closures may be a necessary measure in a larger plan to make the school system sustainable.

There was a similar forum at Leyden’s Pearl Rhodes Elementary School this past Thursday, which covered the logistics of merging Leyden’s elementary students into Bernardston Elementary School.

Although Warwick and Leyden are both small, Warwick Community School has 63 students compared to Pearl Rhodes’ 33. Nearly half the enrollment in Warwick’s school is from out-of-town students through School Choice.

If Warwick’s school is closed, its School Choice students would be guaranteed spots in Northfield Elementary School.

Contact Max Marcus at or 413-772-0261 ex 261.

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