Parents group weighs legal action over AASD proposal

A newly formed parents organization is considering taking legal action over the proposed closing of Wright and Washington-Jefferson elementary schools.

“I believe there are grounds for discriminatory action against the Altoona Area School District and school board. We have an attorney who will represent us pro bono,” said Lori Kehoe, co-founder of PEACSE (Parents Encouraging and Community Supporting Education). “I believe they are discriminating against us because the area is known as a low income area.”

The school board is considering closing Wright and Washington-Jefferson schools for the 2013-14 school year and rezoning other schools in the district.

In conjunction with the closings, plans call for redrawing boundaries for elementary schools districtwide and eliminating boundary exceptions that parents have used for their children to attend a school more convenient for day care purposes. More than 1,000 students would be affected.

About ten parents gathered Saturday at Community Baptist Church for the groups first meeting.

“My intention in forming this group is not just school closings, but the priority at this time is school closings. We need a group to oversee and make sure the school district does what needs to be done for the children,” Kehoe said.

Kehoe realizes her group may be fighting an uphill battle.

“The school board won’t say it, but they have already made the decision. There are a lot of parents who don’t want it,” Kehoe said.

However, she and group members don’t plan to give up.

“We have to push, we have to dig deep and come up with things we can push back at them. Discrimination is one venue,” Kehoe said.

“People look at it like it is a worthless cause. That is what they [the school board] want people to think. As long as the people don’t stand up, it will be a done deal,” said parent Paul Lockard.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.