Indiana, PA - Indiana County

Letter to the Editor: Former IASD director floats proposal

on April 12, 2017 10:59 AM
Indiana, PA

Without a vote being cast, three IASD board members in favor of a mega-school have now indicated that they will not be a board member at the reorganization meeting in December, and a fourth member will join them in a month when John Ucellini loses in the primary election. Any further votes by these members on the hated school would be despicable on their part during the remaining six months of their dead-end term. The last two of the six will be gone in the primary of 2019.

As a longtime (24 years) school board member in IASD, I believe to build a “mega-school” and leave Indiana Borough with no elementary schools is a wrong-headed idea. Although the board was most unkind toward Walter Schroth’s alternative plan, I can offer another alternative. This plan will keep the borough schools, reduce the busing necessary for the mega-school idea, reduce school expenditures by over $1 million and not require a $39 million building cost.

Here is my plan:

1. Close Ben Franklin.

2. Put into Horace Mann nine kindergarten rooms and six first-grade rooms.

3. Put into East Pike two pre-K rooms, two kindergarten rooms, 10 third-grade rooms and nine fourth-grade rooms.

4. Put into Eisenhower five first-grade rooms and 11 second-grade rooms.

5. With the reduction of two junior high teachers, use 39 rooms for sixth, seventh and eighth grades and nine rooms for fifth-grade.

This will adequately house the elementary grades in three schools and make the enrollment of the junior high with four grades equivalent to the senior high enrollment with four grades, and bring the junior high enrollment much closer to its rated capacity.

It’s bad enough, as Mr. Watkins pointed out, that if the bill to fund schools passes in Harrisburg, the local taxpayers will pay added taxes for sales, income and debt without adding to the debt another $32 million. The plan presented does not require any added debt to the district and most importantly allows walkers to continue in the borough schools. Give it a fair shot, board.

William Balint



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