To The Lower Merion School Board,
I am writing to express my objection to the conduct of the School Board in their process for the new Harriton High School. I believe the process has been secretive, flawed, and lacked any true desire to get voter input –
– probably because of a fear that the voters would reject the project and the flawed logic the board has displayed.
Despite my being an avid reader and in touch with local happenings, were it not for the actions of my fellow citizens (and not in any way as a result of a board desiring to have any level of transparency in their proceedings), I would have known nothing of the grandiose plans the board – supposedly representing the citizens – had put together for Harriton.
The process has been disingenuous at best, and at worst I would argue deceptive to the very voters who will have to pay. The “public hearing” I attended on September 21st was a mockery; it looked to me to be an attempt to go through the motions of a process, while still trying to maintain a choice that – were it put to a referendum of the voters and taxpayers – would I believe get soundly rejected.
I am both a product and a firm believer in top flight public education, and do believe we need new facilities for Harriton. I cannot, however, condone facilities of the cost and grand design noted. Costs for this new project appear to be much higher than any other public schools project, and I believe are higher than even new construction done at local independent schools.
I would ask that, if the board feels that the plan as currently outlined is in the best interests of the voters, that they submit that plan to a voter referendum as intended under Act 34. After all, we’re the ones who get to pay. I would also ask the board start attempting to use the communication tools at our disposal – like web sites, emails, etc. – to truly try to inform and not deceive the citizens you are supposed to represent.
Kenneth W. Schwenke,