Board Votes, Millcreek Montessori Program to Stay Open - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Board Votes, Millcreek Montessori Program to Stay Open

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Cheering, hugging after school board votes on Montessori Cheering, hugging after school board votes on Montessori
The Millcreek School Board voted 5:3 on Monday night to keep all four of the Montessori classrooms in the district open.

More than 40 people from the Montessori community attended the meeting, and the crowd cheered and kids hugged their parents after the board made their decision.

"I'm ecstatic. It couldn't have gone any better," said Jennifer Lachapelle, a mom whose daughter who is a Montessori student.

"This vote was huge. I mean he loves the Montessori program and it keeps stability for him because now we know exactly where he's going to school. So it's taken a lot stress off of me and I know where he's going to be at next year," said Erin Conley, another Montessori parent. 

Closing the four classrooms - two in Belle Valle and two in Grandview - was one of the tough decisions on the table as the district works to eliminate their $2.5 million deficit for the next school year. According to district superintendent William Hall, closing the program could've reduced the district's budget gap by about $300,000.

Parents say that the program is worth saving.

"They're so passionate about learning that even outside of school, on vacation, in the summer time - they are still in that learning mode," said Tony Pasquerette, a Montessori dad whose two daughters are both in the program. "I think that's the most impressive result that I've seen from the Montessori program," he said.

Hall doesn't disagree that the program provides quality education.

"It's a great program. It was never about the program or the quality of the education. It's strictly about the budget and that's unfortunately, how we have to look at things right now," he said.

"When you get down to this point in the budget, everything is special, and this is a special school district," Hall said. "So we have to take a look at everything and really come together and decide what is most important as far as those programs in the district. And tonight, the board decided that Montessori was one of them."

Looking forward, Hall said that future cuts will most likely be ones that impact the districts high schools.

The school board has about six weeks left to close the remaining $2.5 million budget gap.
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