The researchers expect to have a final report by Nov 1.By Nicole Ford

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. (KDKA) – In the height of the 1970s, Beaver County’s population and school districts were booming.

Decades later, those numbers have dropped by more than half.

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“The education council started talking about what education could possibly look like in the year 2030,” said Dan Matsook, the project manager for Beaver County Quality Education Council.

This group of Beaver County residents started a four-phase study to find the best solution to strengthen education and encourage people to move to the area.

“With rising taxes and the lower population, we are paying more taxes and eroding some of the opportunities that are available. So if I’m a parent, I want to know, how I can live in my house and have the opportunities that someone else has in another part of the county? How can we work together so my child doesn’t get short-changed?” Matsook said.

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Now in the third phase, Johns Hopkins University researchers are on the ground.

“Each school district needs to come up with different solutions. They serve different kids, they have different histories, they have different problems and different assets,” said Dr. Steven Ross with Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Ross has visited each Beaver County School District and knows this is not a one-size-fits-all solution. He believes the role of the researchers is to hear from the people on what they want and put it together as potential alternatives.

“This is not a proponent for mergers. We are about expanded equitable opportunities for students. How do we get there? There is a lot of avenues, but we are hoping Johns Hopkins can us the ones that best work for Beaver County,” Matsook said.

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The researchers expect to have a final report by Nov 1.