Is keeping Loyalsock Valley Elementary School worth it for the taxpayers of the Montoursville area school district?
Principals in Montoursville pondered the proposal at this week’s board meeting, with some members noting that declining student enrollment may leave them no other choice.
Board Chairman David Shimmel noted that recent enrollment projections are certainly on the downside.
He said while the consolidation of Loyalsock Valley and Lighter Elementary was a foregone conclusion, he is confident the Valley building’s closure could come sooner than he had anticipated.
“I’m just saying go with the maintenance upgrades,” he said.
The closure of Loyalsock Valley is among the options being considered as part of a plan to renovate buildings in the district.
Earlier this year, district officials held town hall meetings and organized tours of school buildings to allow parents and ratepayers to come to their own conclusions about which option to take.
Necessary infrastructure upgrades and other maintenance issues in Loyalsock Valley have often been noted by district officials.
Board member Ron Snell made it clear he was skeptical of declining enrollment in the district.
“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if the can hadn’t been thrown in the road for years,” he said.
Board member Susan Beery said it would be financially irresponsible to upgrade two elementary schools.
“Two elementary schools don’t make sense financially” she says.
Council members recognized that any construction or upgrade will result in ever-increasing expense to the district over time.
“When we started this process a few years ago, it was a different time,” said Daniel Albert, member of the board of directors.
In other areas, the board approved two policies for armed security guards, including establishing a cooperative relationship between the district and local police departments to maintain school safety and security. .
Snell again questioned why the council is taking time to establish policies for officers when no decision has yet been made to hire armed security.
“What worries me is that time is lost if it is rejected”, he said.
Deputy Superintendent Dan Taormina responded that the same process is followed for hiring administrators.
“I agree with the way we do it”, Shimel said.
In a personal action, the board approved the hiring of George Barron as a business teacher at a salary of $62,704.
The board approved Christopher Morgan as Group Manager with a $4,000 stipend and Andrea Burleigh as Deputy Group Manager with a $1,000 stipend.
Shannon Oeler has been approved as a substitute nurse/caregiver and Kelly Reynolds as a substitute teacher.
The council has accepted the retirement of Margaret Blackwell, who has been a chef for 27 years.