The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 12, 2014

Proud of our schools

The Daily Item

— As a mother of six children (grades 2 to 12) who are thriving in the Lewisburg School District, it distresses me that plans to move the high school from downtown to the land next to the prison are moving right along despite the considerable outcry from many people who support keeping the high school right where it is.

We are all proud that our school system consistently ranks in the upper strata of public schools. Is it necessary to build a tremendously expensive high school to maintain that status? As a parent, my experience is that our fabulous teachers and involved parents are those who should be credited with our high school’s consistently superior ranking.

There is an assumption that more space is needed for students. Where is the study showing that student population is increasing? The Lewisburg Board of Education has spent plenty of money to support their call for a new high school; however I have yet to see anything demonstrating that the student population is rising. The statistics I have read show quite the opposite, which is that the number of students per grade is falling. My experience (from serving 10 years on a preschool board) was that our student body was literally reduced by half from 2002 to 2012.

I fell in love with Lewisburg as a Bucknell student from 1980-84. In 2006 my husband and I decided to move to downtown Lewisburg to raise our six children in this nurturing, wholesome, academic and enriching environment. We wanted our children to grow up in a small town where they could walk to school, participate in activities and classes at Bucknell, where the marching band can be heard practicing at 7 a.m. by everyone who lives within 10 blocks, and where, after school, they could stop by Barnes & Noble for a study group, see their friends for a snack at Zeldas, Pizza Phi or Cherry Alley, or take their younger siblings to Hufnagle. I know we are not the only parents who appreciate these simple things.

The thought of seeing an unnecessarily empty abandoned building at the corner of Market and Route 15 is tremendously distressing. The thought of a construction site miles away distresses me even more. Our taxes already increase every year, just to maintain the schools we have now. What will the extra millions of dollars be for? So we can “keep up” with neighboring districts that overspent on their showpieces? I for one am tremendously proud of Lewisburg schools, teachers and students and don’t see the need to gild the building.

Gabrielle Taylor,