By Pam Surano

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) — A plan to move local fourth-graders into the junior high school building was postponed.

The Hopewell Area School District School Board delayed its decision on Monday following pushback from parents who were worried about placing young children into the junior high school.

Overcrowding and elementary schools badly in need of repair prompted a plan from the school that has stirred enormous concern among many parents in the Hopewell Area School District.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

That plan would have fourth-graders move from the middle school and into the junior high building.

But there was so much pushback on Monday that the board opted to delay the decision.

Vivian Lumbard is among many who say children need to be children.

“The pace is just too fast with the internet, with the phones,” Lumbard said. “It’s just going to encourage the parents to get the phones earlier.”

Interacting with the older kids is also a fear of parents who say they’re just not ready for that.

“I know the developmental appropriateness of grade levels, and I find it inappropriate, really, fifth grade is even at this junior high,” parent Michael Leonard said.

“They’re going to be completely away from the older children,” Hopewell Area School District Board President Lesia Dohomin said. “What we said is it’s going to have the concept of a school within a school. The younger kids aren’t going to be interacting with the seventh- and eighth-graders.”

There are a lot of concerns on the table, including construction costs of up to $70 million to fix school buildings in the future, busing and start times.

A decision will now be made on March 9th.