Stroudsburg, Monroe County – Erica McCabe and Tara Probst have children who were supposed to attend Ramsey Elementary School this fall. But now, the school is closed. McCabe said, "We are hoping that they reopen Ramsey and if they don't then my children will be in a charter school." Probst added, "It's a huge community outcry."
The two mothers, along with another parent, requested an injunction. They want a judge to order the district to reopen Ramsey and stop the planned closure of Clearview Elementary. They believe school board members had private conversations about public business in violation of the Sunshine Law. They also say the board didn’t do everything it could before deciding to close schools. "There was no appraisals done. They did not take the time to calculate the bus routes or take the time to look at what effect these closures have on the children.” Said McCabe.
They also worry about the impact closing Ramsey will have on the community. "It's an historical district. It's R2 zoned so there's only certain things you can do with that building. It also ruins property values of all those homes around it,” said Probst.
School Board Vice President Richard Pierce said the board did not have private conversations about public business. "The accusations against us personally and as a board are unfounded and unsupported,” he emphasized. He added he believes board members did everything they were supposed to. "I think it's unfortunate that we are spending tax payer dollars and resources that should be going to our children in a court proceeding,” he said.
Both sides blame each other for causing taxpayers to spend money. They did not provide an exact number. School District Superintendent Dr. John Toleno said, "I have to spend time worrying about kids and worrying about staff members and getting ready to open school. I'm not going to worry about arbitrary figures that different sides that are going to throw out there because I just can't waste my time on that."
The judge will hear arguments on August 18th. The first day of school is scheduled for August 25th. Toleno said if the judge rules Ramsey must stay open, there won’t be time to get classrooms ready.