Chaneysville-Cove Elementary School

In the early 1950’s the Everett Area School District had three elementary schools built; they had basically the same floor plan and they all opened their doors on Aug. 30, 1954. Breezewood and Mann-Monroe were both built with six classrooms, while Chaneysville only had three. The Chaneysville-Cove Elementary was built on 12.08 acres in Southampton Twp. on land once owned by Albert Adams, descendant of early settler, John Adams. Today it is surrounded on three sides by land leased to D.C.N.R. and it faces Route 326 and the old two room Point Pleasant School built in 1873. Point Pleasant School remained open that first school term, with 7th and 8th graders and their teacher Rhoda H. Clingerman, crossing the road each day to eat lunch in the new school. It was closed in 1955 when all the older pupils were bused to Everett Area High School.

In the 80’s a separate prefabricated library was added to all three schools. Then in 1997, the citizens of Southampton Township pulled together and built a 30 x 40 foot brick building addition on the one end of Chaneysville-Cove Elementary School. This addition was built completely by volunteers and the school district only had to pay $300.00 for the permit fees. In June of 1997 Harry Smith from CBS aired a report showing the extraordinary efforts of the parents, which prompted a technological improvement grant from R.K. Mellon Family Foundation. Fifteen computers were purchased with this grant.

Transportation has always been a BIG issue for the Beans Cove/Flintstone Creek students. Since a school bus wasn’t allowed to travel over the steep and windy Tussey Mountain loaded, some students from Beans Cove/Flintstone Creek were on the bus over 3 hours a day. In the early 1970’s those parents got the school district to pay tuition to Allegany Co. Md. for their 7-12th graders to attend school in Flintstone, Md. A couple students from Beans Cove, who wanted to remain in Everett to graduate provided their own transportation over the mountain to Chaneysville to catch the bus for Everett Area High School along with the rest of the students in grades 7th –12th on the Chaneysville/Hewitt side.

Twenty years later the district started to provide van (suburban) transportation for high school students from Beans Cove to cross Tussey Mountain in order to catch the bus to Everett. Then in 2000 Flintstone School no longer housed 7th-12th students, so all those living in Beans Cove/Flintstone Creek had to come over the mountain in 6 vans to Chaneysville-Cove Elem. to catch the bus for the high school. A few students wishing to graduate from Md. were bused (in vans) to Fort Hill School. Which was another deal the parents and students made with the district. Today, all of our students in Southampton Twp. attend school in Pa. In the fall of 2004, the school board removed the six graders from Chaneysville-Cove and bused them to Everett Elementary, thus the low enrollment of 47 students in 2006-07.

Although Chaneysville-Cove still has two grades per classroom, K-1st, 2nd-3rd, and 4th-5th, their test scores are the highest in the district and most are the highest in the state! Chaneysville-Cove the smallest school in the district scored a 90.3% Proficient Level on the Math PSSA and a 71% Proficient Level in Reading PSSA, while the largest school, Everett Elem. only scored a 70.3% in Math and a 63.2% in Reading. Proving the fact of smaller classroom size equals more individualized attention and a closer connection with students.

At a meeting on Feb. 15, 2007 the school board voted to close Chaneysville-Cove Elementary at the close of this school year. The citizens pleaded to hold off voting until after the upcoming testing, because their households are upset about the recent events, but the board wouldn’t hear of it. The reasons that were given for closing the school were the enrollment and the condition of the building. The district had already removed the 6th graders, which decreased our enrollment. The citizens project kindergarten registration as going up; while the board is saying it is decreasing. A lot of the numbers are coming from the census that don’t show the number of babies born in Allegheny County, Md. where most of Southampton doctor. Also if all three schools were built the same year and if all three were maintained equally how could the condition of Chaneysville-Cove Elementary be that much worse?

There is nowhere else in the district where students in a township are divided by such a steep mountain (it’s the 2nd highest in Pa. with an elevation of 2700 ft. above sea level). Now the district wants to run mini-school buses full of students over this mountain to cut down on time, because of the distant from the Maryland line to Everett Elementary. This act has been forbidden since the opening of Chaneysville-Cove Elementary in 1954.

The citizens of Southampton Twp. have always dug in their heels when it came to helping out the students. In the ‘80’s when the school board said they would no longer pay for field trips or even the gym class skating party, the P.T.O. held fundraisers to come up with the monies so our children wouldn’t loose out. When the teachers wanted a satellite dish and TV to watch the launch of the space shuttle or other historical events and wall mounted fans for their classroom…we paid for them. We also bought books for the library and large bulletin boards for outside of each classroom and the cafeteria to display the children’s artwork on. We beautified the outside of our school by buying and planting shrubs, flowers (the mulch was donated). We paid to air-condition the whole school. Our most recent and costly project was when we replaced the playground equipment, (the other schools also each paid to replaced their playgrounds). Our school has saved the school district A LOT of MONEY over the years. If the teachers suggested it for our children the community came together and did it! ANYTHING FOR OUR CHILDREN!

On March 14, 2007, the Bedford Gazette reported a parent group had contacted a lawyer to review the closing of Chaneysville-Cove Elementary School and Steven Petrikis, Esq. of Pittsburgh, Pa, had filed papers against the Everett Area School District and the Board of Directors.