It’s time for Ben to go


First Posted: 4/13/2013

At a public hearing Wednesday night at the PA Primary Center in Hughestown on the planned closure of the Benjamin Franklin Kindergarten Center in Dupont some parents testified that they are concerned about how the closure will cause a trickle up effect for other grades.

The plan would close the Kindergarten Center and move the kindergarten students to the Primary Center in Hughestown with the first grade, which would in turn bump the second graders, now at the Primary Center, to the Intermediate Center with the third and fourth grades, a move which would then bump the fifth graders to the adjoining Middle School with the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Therein lies the rub for some parents who are concerned about fifth graders mingling with older students at the Middle School. As one parent put it, “The differences between a 10 year old and a 14 year old are vast.”

Maybe, but we would ask the worried PA parents to consider Wyoming Area where 7th through 12th graders are in the same building, an even scarier proposition, we believe, than fifth graders mixing with eight graders.

Every school year parents of Wyoming Area incoming seventh graders worry about their sons and daughters going to school with 17 and 18-year olds,

But once the WA seventh grade parents get an orientation and tour of the school, in almost all cases, the parents’ concerns are allayed.

Pittston Area does the same thing for children entering new schools and their parents.

What makes the plan work is there is plenty of room at the top. The Middle School population is 500 under capacity.

What makes the plan necessary is the condition of the kindergarten center building. (See story on page ??? for details.)

Patrick Endler, an architect with Borton Lawson in Wilkes-Barre, the district’s architectural firm, said a full renovation of the school would cost the district, which is already trying to address a $2 million shortfall, $4.2 million to $5.8 million.

As a fifth grader might say, “Closing the kindergarten center is a no-brainer.”

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