McCANDLESS (KDKA) — It’s a budget battle with parents on one side, administrators on the other and several hundred elementary students in the middle.

The North Allegheny School District wants to close their school to save money.

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Over 100 people signed up to speak at a public hearing about the proposal to close the district’s smallest elementary school, Peebles Elementary.

Administrators say the district is facing a budget deficit of over $5 million.

They say shutting down Peebles and redistributing students would help close that gap.

“NA has been studying this issue over the course of more than 15 years,” said Dr. Raymond Gualtieri, the superintendent. “All the research and data accumulated point to the same recommendation; Peebles could be and should be closed.”

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The group, Save NA Schools, is worried about the impact on those students and the potentially larger class sizes.

“We should not be here tonight to discuss the possibility of creating academic settings for our elementary kids in which 30 kids per class is acceptable,” said Chris Disque, a parent.

“If we close a building, we are moving to a model where we will be wed to these higher class sizes both now and in the future,” Tara Fisher, another parent, added.

The school board, by law, now has to wait three months before taking an official vote.

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