To the editor:
I saw in a recent article that the Mifflin County School District had a reorganization meeting this month. The result of the organization is that the exact same people are in control. I, for one, do not think is good for the local taxpayers, as money seems to be no object for the school board, or at least for the majority of five that seem to be calling all the shots.
Over the last few years, the majority has voted not to renew the contract of a long time superintendent without any explanation being given to the public and hired a new superintendent from out of the area and agreed to pay him a quarter million dollars more over five years than the prior superintendent would have received over the same period of time. Similarly, the majority voted not to re-appoint the local law firm who represented the school district for years, also without any public explanation, and hired a Harrisburg firm to do the school district's legal work. Once again sending more Mifflin County tax dollars out of the county.
This same majority voted not once but twice, including just this past June, to keep Union Elementary School open while closing five other schools. According to a recent Sentinel article, doing so cost local taxpayers at least $400,000. The majority who did this told the packed auditorium at the Indian Valley High School in 2011 that Union Elementary School was staying open because it had better test scores. Turns out the recent reports show that wasn't exactly true. I would guess that Union Elementary School staying open had a lot more to do with the members of the majority promising on the campaign trail the last time they ran that they would keep Union Elementary School open no matter what. This is one campaign promise the taxpayers of Mifflin County should be glad that some members of the majority reneged on, otherwise about $700,000 in grant money would have been lost in addition to the $200,000 a year it cost taxpayers to keep open a school with less than 100 students in it.
The result of the majority's fiscal mismanagement is that our school taxes were raised for the first time in years and at a time when people cannot afford higher taxes. It appears that the majority is ready to increase taxes again to cover the millions of dollars it will cost to convert Highland Park Area Elementary School into a new vo-tech. I wonder what's so wrong with the old vo-tech that this sort of money needs to be spent?
The only good news for the taxpayers is that the majority, Mr. Harpster, Mr. Rager, Mr. Parkes, Mr. Hurlburt and Ms. Sharp, are all up for re-election in 2013. Hopefully some other fiscally responsible candidates will step forward, so that this time next year we can see a real reorganization of the Mifflin County School District.