The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

January 2, 2014

No compelling rationale

The Daily Item

— I want to thank the LASD Board, and Kathy Swope in particular, for the generous amount of time they allowed for public comments at the recent LASD meeting, all of it critical of the board’s decision to replace the existing high school with a new facility in Kelly Township.

That said, the board has still given no compelling rationale for this decision. Agreed, the existing building is inadequate; but its location provides obvious and significant educational advantages, not least its proximity to Bucknell. Renovating the current building to match the proposed facility would, according to the board’s own estimates, cost no more than constructing a new building. Other estimates suggest it would cost less. Nor would renovation be especially disruptive, especially if carried out incrementally.

On the other hand, there are many foreseeable problems, and as many unknowns, connected with relocating to the new property. These include significant questions about the impact of this plan on traffic and on travel times for students. (It is disheartening that a traffic study is only now under way.) These problems, and the advantages to leaving the high school at its current site, have all been pointed out to the board by experts in architecture, town planning, and education.

Many of us recognize that the board has worked hard on this issue, but are convinced that its decision represents a serious mistake: an honest one no doubt, made in good faith; but a mistake nevertheless. We hear from Dr. DiRocco and the board that the decision to move the High School “has been made.” Indeed it has — but it is not yet irrevocable. The board would do well to reconsider its position.

Alexander Wilce,