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Jill Nickerson & Sara Herbst co-chair the Save Our Schools coalition.

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Chart of Options presented at 3/12/12 STSD board meeting

clock March 13, 2012 19:41 by author Heidi |

Option

Description

Bond & Rating Risk *

Reimburse-ment Risk

Community Loss & Transportation Increases

Vo-Tech viability

Long-term Operational Budget Savings °

1

Full feasibility study: curriculum needs, student needs, community needs, long-term budgeting, buildings.

? **

Yes

-

-

-

2

Close North Penn, send 9-12 to MHS & LHS, BES becomes K-8. Some renovation $ needed.

$5.1M loss, ratings lowered

Yes

Yes, Blossburg area

Severely reduced

$700K/yr staffing, $110/yr utilities

3

Close LES, move K-8 to LHS, send 9-12 to NPHS and a few NPHS students to MHS. Continue with building project. (LES will need renovation next.)

No

No

Yes, Liberty area

Enhanced

$700K/yr staffing, $60K/yr utilities

4

Cancel project, give bond money back.

$5.1M loss, ratings lowered

Yes

No

-

-

5

Continue with NPHS/BES project as is.

No

No

No

Enhanced

None, projected $4.6M operational budget deficit five years out.

* The bond was issued about Oct. 2010 and according to IRS regulations for tax-exempt status, 85% of the total must be used for capital repairs and construction costs within three years (~Sept. 2013). See °. The bond was issued rather early in the PlanCon process because a federal income tax benefit that made the bond more attractive expired at the end of 2010.

The Department of Education will only reimburse if we continue with the current PlanCon process. At the moment, this reimbursement is uncertain because the Corbett administration’s budget proposal would impose a moratorium on school construction projects and the definition of how that moratorium would work or whether it would impact STSD is unknown. However, changing the PlanCon would clearly risk our reimbursement.

° The budget has two components for which money is dedicated and cannot be reallocated:

1.    Operational budget - on-going costs to keep everything running such as salaries, utilities, books, and supplies.

2.    Capital budget - major repairs and improvements to the physical plant – roofs, toilets, buildings.

** If study is not completed on time OR does not recommend continuing with NPHS/BES renovation plan as submitted in the PlanCon, the district will have the consequences of 2 or 4. If the district chooses this option, the reimbursement may still be at risk for not following the PlanCon schedule.

STSD-20120312-options-chart.pdf (62.83 kb)




Here's a flyer!

clock March 8, 2012 12:31 by author Heidi |

 

 

 

SOS Flier for community schools work - final copy.pdf (304.99 kb) Jill made a flyer for students to take home with them. You can pass it along too!

 

 

 

 

 




SOS Returns!

clock March 7, 2012 12:16 by author SOS |
Hello SOS. Wow!  I can't believe we are here again!  How is everyone?  Ready to pull together one more time?  Here we go....
 
First.....the story.....
 
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 toddleru@gmail.com.  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.
 

 

 

Jill Nickerson




Results of the Community Meetings

clock May 7, 2011 12:07 by author Heidi |

Jill facilitated three community meetings: Liberty 5/3, 27 attendees; Blossburg 5/4, 20 attendees;  and Mansfield 5/5, 20 attendees. She used a consensus-building style of facilitating to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss their concerns and questions within the context of a set of structured questions. Let's start the report by asking you to answer each of the questions:

1. What are the strengths of your community’s schools?

2. What are the weaknesses of your community’s schools?

3. As the school district faces this budget crisis, what do you want the  board and administration to know about what you value?

4. What improvements would help fill the gap between “what is” and “what ought to be”?

Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts on those questions. Write down everything (that's called "brainstorming") and then step back and look at what might be your top three ideas for each question.  If you're reading with a friend, compare your answers and see if you can come to a top three that you share. I'll wait ;-)

More...




Southern Tioga teachers ask for time to consider pay freeze

clock May 3, 2011 14:45 by author Bev & Dave |
May 3, 2011
By CHERYL R. CLARKE (cclarke@sungazette.com) , Williamsport Sun-Gazette
 

BLOSSBURG - Though they all seemed to agree that a pay freeze is justified in the harsh economic climate Pennsylvania school districts find themselves in, Southern Tioga School District teachers who spoke to the school board Monday night also all seemed to agree that a Thursday deadline to decide was too much to ask.

The board has told the Southern Tioga Teachers Association that if a decision is not made by Thursday, "more furloughs (read more)

 




Community Input Meetings Scheduled

clock April 19, 2011 15:43 by author SOS |

 

On Wednesday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. NPHS auditorium,  Superintendent Keith Yarger will hold an informational session about the proposed 2011-2012 STSD budget. Then SOS will facilitate three public meetings to discuss the proposal and provide constructive feedback to the district.

On Monday, May 2, at  STSD school board meets at 6:30 for its monthly work session at NPHS library

 

Please attend the public meeting in your town to listen and provide your own valuable insights!  This is your chance to have your voices heard.  We will need volunteers.  Please let me know if you are able to attend a public meeting other than your own to help with groups.  toddleru@gmail.com

Liberty - May 3rd 6-8pm @ Liberty Borough Building

Blossburg - May 4th 6-8pm @ Blossburg Fire Hall

Mansfield - May 5th 6-8pm @ Mansfield Fire Hall

On Monday, May 9, STSD board meets at 6:30 p.m. for its monthly meeting at Mansfield High School library.

On Tuesday, May 31, STSD is required to submit its budget to the state.

Get informed! Get involved!




Meeting: Sunday 4/17 6 p.m., Blossburg Fire Hall

clock April 15, 2011 11:50 by author SOS |

Hello everyone,

The SOS meeting is scheduled for Sunday April 17th from 6-8pm at the Fire Hall.  Before you come to the meeting please take a look at the following website.  www.blossburg.org/sos  This will be the "home" for SOS during our fundraising campaign and the place to find all of the event information.  We still need to add the paypal button for donations and a few tweeks here and there.  I just want you to become familiar with it and be able to pass it along to others.  You will hear from me soon.
See you Sunday.
Jill