It's painful to watch.
The Williamsport Area School District is looking to close schools in the name of efficiency and consolidation. That's not a new concept and actually strikes us as an overdue approach given a generation of enrollment decline in the district.
The problem is, no one wants their school closed.
The understandable emotions poured out at a hearing the school board held last week.
Good cases can and were made on behalf of Round Hills, Sheridan and Stevens elementary schools, which are all under the closure cloud. The board is considering closing two of the three schools.
Test scores. Building conditions. Instruction quality. Classroom sizes.
All those factors were presented to the board with laudable conviction from students and parents. School was pitted against school, which is an unfortunate but inevitable part of the discussion.
Based on what was said, there would be no reason to close any of the schools.
But the district has a budget to get under control and long-term building costs to consider.
Understandably, there is hesitancy to eliminate programs and instruction personnel. Those are the elements that directly impact the quality of education for which taxpayers are spending money. They should always be the priority.
So the district's leadership has nowhere else to turn than buildings.
Until something fundamental changes in the way the district spends its money we mean big changes in salary, pension and benefits plans school closing discussions will be the only place to turn in the name of efficient spending of available funds. And, yeah, it's painful to watch.