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Corbett mulls closing middle school

The Corbett School District superintendent has proposed closing the aging middle school after voters turned down an $11.9 million bond in the May 17 primary election.

Randy Trani, superintendent of the Corbett district, did not respond to the Outlook’s efforts to reach him or provide a copy of the statement he made at a recent school board meeting.

He was quoted by community members on a web page as saying he advocated closing the middle school and that he was not confident a bond would ever pass.

“I feel we have done all we can to secure our community’s support for the safety upgrades that we know are needed. Despite our best attempts, the community isn’t able to support the required upgrades,” the web site quoted Trani as saying.

It was the fourth time in as many years that Corbett voters refused to tax themselves to improve school buildings.

About 45 percent of students in Corbett schools come from out of district and some voters object to paying taxes to house students who don’t live in Corbett.

In addition, the community group said on its website “there is a trust issue” with the district leadership,

That group, called Save Our Schools, was opposed to the bond and posted a letter on its website to Trani and the board that it “wants to keep children safe and improve facilities.”

The SOS letter also addressed the school board. “We are not your enemy,” it read, going on to emphasize that the group advocates not adding to the square footage of the schools, as they said the bond would have done, but rather make safety and other needed upgrades.

The group said Trani proposed several options upon closing the dangerous middle school building, including creating classrooms in the gymnasium. He also suggested eliminating 250 students through attrition or taking out loans.

“The specter of hundreds of lives severed and then entombed in the hollow clay tile sarcophagus of excuses and promises to address the problem sometime in the future — after myriad, ever changing demands from various contingencies have been met — drive my consideration of all these unsavory solutions,” Trani was quoted on the website.

The school board called a special meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, May 23, past the Outlook’s deadline. The story will be updated on the web site.