The Shippensburg University Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School (GBLUES) will remain open for at least five more years, following the Shippensburg Area School District (SASD) board’s approval of a new agreement during a meeting Monday evening.
After undergoing negotiations with SU in recent months, the majority of the school board members voted to invoke a new agreement between the school district and SU, ensuring the operation of GBLUES through the 2017–22 academic years.
The school board will meet at 7 p.m. on May 22 for a vote that will officially close or keep GBLUES open for the next five years. Each meeting is held in the Shippensburg Area Middle School cafeteria and is open to the public.
“This past negotiation was very fruitful,” SASD Board President Mark Buterbaugh said. “The cooperation and collaboration we had was unprecedented and unparalleled under this [SU] administration.”
However, not all school board members believed keeping the school open was beneficial to the rest of the Shippensburg community.
“One question wasn’t asked, how is this agreement going to be best for the kids?” SASD Board Vice President Andrew Alosi said. “I’m kind of torn right now on how to support or not support the current agreement.”
Alosi was not the only person in attendance at Monday’s meeting that felt unsure of how to support the agreement.
Mike Kirkpatrick, a parent of two GBLUES students and one student who attends a separate Shippensburg elementary school, said his family faces challenges with current transportation logistics and is hesitant to accept terms that will not assist families such as his own.
“I appreciate the board and the university finally working together toward a common goal, [however], I feel like we’ve lost the guiding principle of keeping in mind our students,” Kirkpatrick said.
SU Interim President Barbara Lyman said SU is motivated to bettering the communication with school district officials while maintaining the university’s goals for GBLUES.
“[Our two goals] are to ensure the laboratory school model and mission are maintained, and to strengthen the collaboration between the district and SU for a model partnership,” Lyman said.