Hello SOS. Wow! I can't believe we are here again! How is everyone? Ready to pull together one more time? Here we go....
Everything was on track with our North Penn building project until Governor Tom Corbett has proposed to put a one-year moratorium on all school building projects that use the Department of Education's Plancon reimbursement process. Without reimbursement from the state, the district stands to "wait" on $6-7 million, which represents 40% of the building project cost. Along with an already slim budget to work with, this puts all three schools in the district at risk. At risk of what you might ask? There are three options on the table.
1. Remain on track with the building project and wait out the moratorium
2. Close Liberty Elementary and convert Liberty High School to a K-8 facility. Send Liberty High School students to North Penn.
3. Close NPHS and send 30% of students to Mansfield and 70% to Liberty High School. Blossburg Elementary would then become
a K-8 facility.
These options affect us all. If the building project stays on track, we will be able to house a vo-tech program that will enhance the education of all of our students. With college getting harder and harder to afford, we must teach our children alternative skills, and a vo-tech program has been a dream of district residents, students and parents for years. If Liberty High School closes, Liberty area loses a piece of their identity. If NPHS closes, our town is at great risk because we are so centrally located, more children will have to be on a bus, more parents will begin cyberschooling, we will lose a piece of our identity, and a votech program will no longer be possible because Liberty and Mansfield schools will be at full capacity. Mansfield classes will then become too large for its students to benefit from the small school advantage.
What we need to remember......
As we tackle this again, we need to all remember one thing. We are all in this together! This includes Liberty, Blossburg and Mansfield. It is our job together to show the board why each of us must remain as community schools. I fully understand the budget crunch the district faces, but in times of great need, I feel we can all pull together to make a difference for our children. This does not mean going to meetings and forcefully accusing the school board, this means working together to find the right solution. Each of our voices matter but once again we must be present to voice them.
What we need to do now.....
We need to attend the March 12th school board meeting to be held at 6:30pm at North Penn High School auditorium. I would like to see 100+ people represented from each of our wonderful community schools. Wear your school colors. You do not have to speak if you are uncomfortable but I welcome you to share your story. I will be speaking that night on several topics but I want to really emphasize each school's identity, the benefits of small community schools, and the benefits to each of our communities. You need to be there to represent your school!
If the school board doesn't know how we feel, we'll be left with whatever decision they make. They want to hear from us and they need to hear from us - this is an important community decision and we all need to understand the stakes and participate in the process.
Keep me updated with the number of people you have coming from your community school to the school board meeting Monday night by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
. I will be working on getting radio ads, school flyers and spreading the word. I will email out information as we begin our second journey together! Good luck.