The decision to close Allegheny No. 1 Elementary wasn't surprising and is a harbinger of things to come across the region as school districts try to cope with increasing funding shortfalls.
As expected, the Hollidaysburg Area school board formally voted Wednesday night to shut down the nearly 50-year-old elementary building at the end of the school year. The 223 students at the school will be transferred either to Charles W. Longer or Foot of Ten elementaries when classes begin in the fall.
While it's understandable that parents, students and others directly affected by the closing are upset, the board made the right decision. The children will adapt to their new surroundings, perhaps even faster than their parents will.
The deck was stacked against Allegheny No. 1.
It is an older school in need of expensive upgrades. The district has experienced declining enrollment and can accommodate the students at other schools. A continuing sluggish economy has limited local tax revenue and tightened state funding. And the district and others across the state are facing massive increases in pension costs in the years ahead.
For all of the great things that Allegheny No. 1 had going for it, in the current environment, it isn't financially feasible to keep it open.
Expect other districts in the next few years to be forced to make similar decisions.
An Altoona Area school board member predicts that two of that district's elementary buildings could be on the chopping block in the next couple of years. Altoona currently has 11 elementaries, down from 20 in the district's and city's heyday.
There isn't a school district in our region that isn't feeling a financial pinch and that isn't dreading the bills coming due for delayed pension contributions.
This likely will lead to more school boards facing the tough - and often unpopular - decisions about closing schools in the years ahead.