The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 24, 2014

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

(Continued)

Misconception:  Taxes will increase to accommodate the additional costs for the maintenance of the new facility.

Fact:  There will be increased costs for a larger building, but that would have been the case regardless of the location of the school. LASD anticipates that it may also require an additional custodian for the school.  The utility cost for the current high school is $115,000 per year, which is 4/1000 (0.004) of our current budget.  It would appear that even with an increase, the maintenance impact on the budget would be minimal.

Misconception: The decision to build the high school was predetermined.

Fact:  The decision to build a new high school was made after several studies and community input venues including the following:

  • A Superintendent’s Facilities Committee: 2008-2009
  • Two Community Forums conducted by DeJong Consulting: Fall 2009
  • A report from DeJong Consulting to the Board: December 2009
  • Two Community Forums conducted by the district: Spring 2010
  • A District appointed Facilities Committee: Spring 2010
  • A feasibility study conducted by CRA that vetted six different options including renovating the current high school: Summer 2010
  • A presentation to the Board by CRA: October 2010

It is not rational to believe that the district would participate in such an extensive community input and professional consultant study process if it had made a predetermined decision.

CONCLUSION

The core reason for the Board’s decision to build a new high school in Kelly Township is based on the fact that the current seven acre high school site is not adequately sized for our current programs and has no room for growth in the future.  Spending millions of dollars to renovate and expand the current high school will only delay the inevitable need to build a new high school at a new site in the future. Financing and construction costs are at historic lows and it is an optimum time to build the new high school.

This decision is first and foremost about the future of our children.  Building a new high school in Kelly Township will allow the district and community to meet the educational needs of our students for many decades in the future.  The current site will not.

It is my recommendation that the district proceed with the current schedule to build the new high school in Kelly Township.

Mark D, DiRocco, Ph.D.

Superintendent

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