October 19, 2009
To the Editor:
In last week’s edition, you printed in the news section a press release prepared by the
“Residents of the
The LMSD Board and Administration had the foresight to locate the new school, designed to accommodate 1,250 students, at the sparsely-populated western edge of the District. The plan was to equalize enrollment between New Harriton and
The District purportedly held over a hundred meetings to gather input from the community regarding renovating vs. building brand new schools. The culmination of these meetings was the state-mandated Act 34 hearing for New Harriton, where 9 people spoke in favor of the District’s plans, while 27 were opposed. The District responded by refusing to air the video of the hearing on its public access cable channel and instead used taxpayer money to hire a public relations firm to “sell” the community on its plans. In addition, 460 residents wrote letters of opposition to the PA Department of Education. After inviting (and ignoring) input from the community, the Board charged ahead with its plans.
The Board set a “not-to-exceed” budget for New Harriton of $98.25 million. When the bids far exceeded this figure, the Board again invited public comment. There were more meetings, and even radical suggestions such as delaying the project or scaling back the size of the schools to meet actual enrollment projections. Fortunately, the Board ignored this heresy and voted to exceed its own “not to exceed” budget, raising it to $102.9 million. As a result, New Harriton was completed “on time and on budget”.
Since the New Harriton building is so large, school buses can no longer be parked on the property. Therefore, the district is paying or litigating to park school buses at the Croyle site, the Connelly Container site, the
The centerpiece of New Harriton is the soaring glass-encased library. Part of the District’s rationale for making Harriton and
Community members who are unable to attend the New Harriton ribbon cutting should mark their calendars for October of 2010. At that time, the District will open the doors of the even larger and more expensive
For more information on the LMSD, and their stewardship of the community’s resources, please visit www.lmsd.info.”
Stephen J. Gleason