Errors Of W-B School Board

July 9, 2018 GMT

Editor: How did the Wilkes-Barre Area School District’s students go from 144th in the state’s testing to 443rd? Why did 600-plus students leave the district for charter and cyber schools? How did the district go from a $19 million surplus to a pending $70 million deficit? In less than four years the board has spent $8 million dollars on the search for a building site and for the design of a consolidated high school. A second design of a consolidated high school would be built on a site that lists many disadvantages, some could be hazardous. Should the board make the ultimate mistake and purchase the 78-acre culm bank, mining site, the taxpayers will have shelled out nearly $12 million dollars. How they did that was the direct result of a failure to plan, communicate, and collaborate. The errors and omissions bordered on flagrant, repeated by not holding anyone accountable including themselves. The total project will exceed a quarter of a billion dollars with no long-range curriculum/facility master plan. There was zero effort to do impact studies prior to taking actions that affected the lives of children and their families. Prime example, moving a consolidated high school, “isolated from the city and neighborhoods;” you build detention centers isolated from the city and neighborhoods. Also ignored: zoning;, the internal/external task force, Save Our Schools, parts of the PFM study, parts of their own $443,000 study, research on the impact on consolidation to students and budget. It is a disgrace that the board’s “plan” is financially based as opposed to educationally based. The city of Wilkes-Barre may apply for a distressed city status; it’s borderline to qualify. This consolidation and move from the city should assist in qualifying as property values drop and blight continues in the depressed city. Where is the outrage? Richard Holodick WILKES-BARRE