MIDLAND (KDKA) — The Midland School District, K-8, is housed in a single building. The Beaver County school was honored by the Department of Education as a “Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.”

But that carries little weight in a struggling economy.

Midland schools were hit harder than most. The district faces budget cuts averaging $1,300 per student – that’s the fifth-highest in the state.

Superintendent Sean Tanner and school employees took voluntary pay freezes. That’s not all. When funding for a summer program was eliminated, 12 teachers said they’ll teach the 4-week camp for free.

“I didn’t anticipate this from them, but certainly wasn’t surprised because I know the character of the people,” he said.

Jennifer Hankey, a literacy coach, helped spearhead the group. Erika Kopsack, a kindergarten teacher, was quick to join her.

“We decided without hesitation at all that we needed to step up,” Hankey said.

The whole idea caught the kindergarten by surpise.

“I didn’t know you could work for free,” one student said. “That’s very generous.”

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