Legacy Of W-B Area Board

March 26, 2019

Editor: In 2015, the Wilkes-Barre Area School Board accepted a plan for a consolidated high school on Washington Street, requiring the closing of the neighborhood schools. In my 20 years of facility planning experience, this was an inferior plan as it relates to educational value, safety, finances, and facility, type and location. Hands down the worst. Adding to the problematic planning, the “plan” segregated an entire high school from the “new school.” Discrimination is a federal offense that could lead to loss of federal funding. Adding to the questionable planning was arrogance, as it took place in the very high school omitted. And in this June 2015 board meeting 60 people spoke to the board requesting they table the action item. Prior to the vote and following the extensive and heartfelt speakers the board took a 10 minute recess. Returning and without any public discussion they voted 7-2 to approve a plan to submit to the state Department of Education. In addition to arrogance we add irresponsibility, because had the board listened to the 60 people they could have saved the taxpayers $4.9 million dollars on a failed project. The ultimate arrogance and irresponsibility, which I consider malfeasance in office by elected officials, was proceeding with costly school design and site work prior to zoning approvals. Well what follows with the board’s decision to build a consolidated high school isolated from all neighborhoods on a coal mine and coal ash dumping site will outdo the previous board actions and costs by far as now we add to arrogance the endangering of the safety of 4,000 students, faculty and staff. The biggest predictor of future behavior is past behavior. The present two-time board president who also chairs the “facility committee” wants a legacy. He has achieved that goal. Richard A. Holodick WILKES-BARRE