The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


January 24, 2014

FULL TEXT: Dr. Mark DiRocco's presentation regarding new high school


Misconception: The relocation of the high school will increase transportation costs by 20%.

Fact:  At the present time, LASD has only 44 high school students that live in the borough who are not assigned to a bus. One additional bus will be needed to transport these students to the high school at a cost of approximately $32,000.  We will receive approximately $16,000 in state reimbursement resulting in an additional cost of $16,000 to the district.

The district budgeted $1.3 million for transportation this year.  However, when you factor in the budgeted transportation reimbursement of $667,042 from the PA Department of Education, the total budgeted cost is $666,123.  Adding one bus will increase the transportation budget by approximately 2.4%.

Misconception: Transportation to the Newman site as compared to the current high school is more inefficient, costly, and dangerous.

Fact:  We have already established the fact that transportation will increase by 2.4% because we will be transporting 44 more students than we do now.  However, the efficiency of a school bus is no less when traveling to the Newman site than the current high school.

The new high school site is a much safer site than the current high school location, which is a “high impact hazmat site” as identified by the Pennsylvania Office of Safe Schools.  The current high school is located just a few feet from Route 15, which is traveled by many vehicles each year containing toxic chemicals. We are one accident away from a major tragedy.  If the current high school site was an open field today, we doubt anyone would want to place a school at that location.

Misconception:  If 20 acres is sufficient for a new high school, why is LASD building on a 200 acre campus?

Fact: The Newman farm was purchased in the late 90’s.  The entire 205 acre farm was for sale as one parcel.  The district did not seek a 200 acre site.  The district purchased the land as the future site of the high school. We have no intention of developing all 200 acres, as a significant portion will be left as wetlands and natural areas for outdoor education.  Our plan anticipates that approximately 55 acres will be developed.  However, the site will provide for decades of growth as needed by the district and land acquisition will not be an issue as it has been in past decades. 

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