The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


August 28, 2012

Fighting for school

As a member of the New Berlin council, I am compelled to comment on your editorial that appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Daily Item.

I understand that the correlation between the closing of the New Berlin Elementary, the fact that our council President is Julie Finkbiner -- a well-known proponent of the a charter school -- and the submission of a charter school application are all facts that would lead Mr. Lichtel, the Mifflinburg Area school board, obviously your paper, as well as many others to believe that the council's sole desire to obtain this property is "the charter school."

Not so!

The only time the Borough Council has indicated support of the charter school was during the preparation of the application.

We are very adamant that we don't want the grounds to change.

Many of our community citizens utilize the playgrounds -- both in front and back of the building. During carnival and New Berlin Day, it provides parking space. We have had lengthy discussions both in session and among ourselves regarding ideas of what to do with the building. Of course, it lends itself to a school, however, there have been the thoughts that it could be converted into senior citizen housing, an office complex, or demolished.

We have, however, decided that we need to own the property before any final decisions could be made.

Unfortunately, the Mifflinburg Area school board appears to have taken that option from the New Berlin citizens despite the fact that we provided a certified written notification that we were taking steps to provide an offer. Mr Lichtel and Mr. Caruso both knew that we were having an independent appraisal done of the property so that an appropriate offer could be prepared as Mr. Eli Mast, the maintenance supervisor, escorted four council members and the appraiser through the building, and answered the many, many questions presented about the condition of the building.

We have communicated via written notification on several occasions, appearances at the school board meetings, and telephone conversations with the administrators to convey our position.

As a former state employee, I've always been taught that nothing has been done unless it is documented. We have followed this model.

Barbara L. Stamm,

New Berlin

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