Lehighton School offers paper surveys
Lehighton Area School District is continuing to ask the community for input regarding potential districtwide building projects by completing a brief "Building Project/Design" survey.
The 10-question survey will be available online at www.Lehighton.org until Friday, March 28.
Paper copies of the survey will be available at the administration building from 7:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
At the suggestion of school board director William Hill Jr., the deadline for the paper surveys has been extended until 4 p.m. Monday, April 7.
One resident had an issue with the survey.
"I've read the survey questions and they're all well and good. But the survey doesn't address finances," Betty Wolfe told the board Monday night.
"I know you all want to do the right thing. Don't be railroaded by someone with an agenda," she urged the school board directors.
Wolfe added, "Dig deep and ask the right questions."
The district sent an email about the survey to all staff members and to all parents and guardians whose email addresses are listed in the district's student database. This was then followed up with a districtwide phone call that went out to approximately 5,000 contacts, making them aware of the survey and asking them to complete it.
Survey questions are:
• What is your role in the Lehighton Education Community?
• How important do you think it is for the Lehighton Area School District to upgrade its buildings?
• How well informed do you consider yourself in regard to the potential building projects being proposed at the Lehighton Area School District?
• From what sources have you received information about the districtwide facility plan for Lehighton Area School District?
• Do you support moving fifth grade back to the elementary school(s)?
• How important is it for you that the school building(s) concept maximizes student safety and security?
• How important is equality for all students in relation to class size at the elementary level?
• How important is it that the school building(s) are designed for future flexibility for providing equal opportunities in educational programs/services and extra-curricular activities?
• How important is the design of the building(s) to improve vehicular and bus access?
• How important is having the construction/renovation completed to allow for less students/academic disruption?
Superintendent Jonathan J. Cleaver is also encouraging the community to read the document entitled "Building Updates and Clarifications" on the website. It addresses 23 separate questions and misconceptions about potential districtwide building projects.
Money for project
The school board approved a resolution to seek a $2 million Alternate and Clean Energy Program Grant from the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Financing Authority to be used for the potential construction of the elementary center as a "high performance building."
The vote was 5 to 3.
Hill questioned the motion since the school board has not made the decision about whether to move forward with renovations at the elementary schools or to build an elementary center.
School board President Gloria Bowman explained, "In order not to lose any potential grant money, it's in the best interest of the school district to submit the grant paperwork."
"There must be a lot of extra money laying around Harrisburg," responded school board director Hal Resh.
School board directors voting in favor of submitting the paperwork for the $2 million grant were Bowman, Stephen Holland, Larry Stern, Wayne Wentz and Andrew Yenser. Rocky Ahner, Hill and Resh voted against it.
The school board also approved signing a letter to proceed with Pennsylvania Maryland Trane's Comprehensive Solutions Program to identify potential facility and operational improvements to reduce related costs at Lehighton Area Middle School.
"This move will help us to make informed decisions," Yenser said.
A motion to upgrade the LASD administration building conference room audio-visual system at a cost of $22,969 failed by a 6-to-2 vote.
"With so many pressing issues, what's so wrong with this meeting room?" questioned Hill.
"Why should we spend this money just because we can?" asked Ahner. "I can't see it."
Resh added, "I think it would be more important to spend that money on the students and teachers' needs."
In a move to replace the building committee workshop meetings with school board meetings, the board voted to schedule additional school board meetings on the second Monday of the month, as needed.
The next two meetings of the school board are scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 14, and Monday, April 28, at the administration building conference room.
For more information about the district, visit www.Lehighton.org or call 610-377-4490.