The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


December 27, 2013

Don’t exclude more students

   In a meeting I had with Mark DiRocco this year, I lamented the fact that all students who are not within walking distance of the high school or who have parents who have the time and money to transport their children are necessarily excluded from marching band, orchestra, homework club, and sports, for there are no busses that run either before school (for band and orchestra) or after school (for sports, plays and homework club). This effectively excludes many lowincome students whose parents work swing shifts and difficult hours — unless the student can walk to school.

   When I asked Dr. DiRocco about the possibility of running additional busses in an attempt to include students who do not live within walking distance of the school and are not able to rely on their parents’ availability, he informed me that it would be cost prohibitive, that participation in band, plays, homework club, and all sports relies on the students’ own abilities to get to the school for these activities.

   I cannot imagine that a new building in a remote location will provide such financial flexibility that the district will be able to run buses that it cannot now afford. Instead, it would seem the increased distance and isolation will simply compound a problem that now exists as we exclude additional students.

   It’s disingenuous to imagine the district will be able to do so when the costs are greater unless the district plans on additional tax increases. Let’s not raise taxes and let’s not deprive more students of the advantages of a broad education and full school involvement. We cannot ignore the education of those students whose parents cannot afford cars and are locked into long hours of work.

Julie Vandivere, Lewisburg

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