Closure talks set in motion

More stories from Madison Pickul

An original Heckman photo // Photo credits unknown

Oliver Heckman Elementary School, home of the Mighty Mustangs, is set to close at the end of the 2015-16 school year. Heckman was founded in 1967 and named after its superintendent. After 48 years in the Langhorne Borough community, it will be an empty building.

There are currently 402 students enrolled at Heckman and it hasn’t yet been decided where they will attend school next year. Two elementary schools are set to close Lower Southampton, in addition to Heckman, not including Samuel Everitt, which closed at the end of last school year.

Lower Southampton is the only school to send all of their students to the new elementary school, which is currently being built where Tawanka use to be, and has yet to be named.

Heckman students are currently being redistricted while others will go to the new school in the district. “My daughter asks me, where am I going next year?” Lora, Vice President of the PTO and mother of a Heckman student, stated.

Kathy Buczek, Heckman’s Parent Teacher Organization Treasure, sat down for an interview and gave her opinion on the matter. She has been a part of the Heckman family for 12 years.

“Heckman is a hometown community school with a safe environment,” Buczek stated.

Chief of Police Officer Steven Mawhinney of Langhorne Borough, directs the traffic in the school parking lot. He is often seen interacting with the kids greeting them by name, high fiving them, and talking to them, thus creating a friendly and safe environment for the children.

When asked how the community would benefit from keeping Heckman open, one of the answers was local businesses. The distance from Heckman to the center of Langhorne’s small businesses is safe enough for the students to walk there. Students of Heckman are known for visiting the local fire station.

Buczek stated, “Kids get a hometown sense at Heckman. They won’t be just a number like they will at the new school.” The new elementary school will hold around 700 kindergarten through fourth grade students.

As of right now, the fourth grade classes are around 29 students and they cap out around 34. Most parents feel the decision to close Heckman and create a bigger elementary school was not thought through properly.

Buczek thinks the past school board could have done a better job and hopes the upcoming school board will reevaluate everything to do with Heckman closing. Some people actually bought their homes with the intent that their child would attend Heckman, only to find out their child has to go somewhere else.

Buczek questions the location of the school and why Heckman students are being forced to go there. “With the school located 2 miles from Ferderbar, why wouldn’t they just close Ferderbar because it is nearly on top of the new school?”

“The Lower South community was clearly all for the new school being built based on the recent school board election results.

All of the students from that area should be going to the new school, which would provide the student count needed by the new school’s required enrollment.

This would benefit the Lower Southampton residents and allow the Langhorne community to keep our beloved school open.”

Jan. 6, 2016 is a school board meeting at Maple Point Middle School at 7 P.M. to further discuss these matters.